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The Reed Brothers – Selling Dodge’s for Ninety-Four Years, Part I

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  • The Rockville Garage at Veirs Mill Road and Rockville Pike in 1915

This is the first part of a series covering Reed Brothers Dodge, which was located in Rockville, Maryland. It became a franchised agency in 1915, shortly after the Dodge Brothers started producing their own car, late in 1914 after years of producing components and parts for Henry Ford for use in his Model “T” Ford. The dealership continued on to sell the Dodge for ninety-four years until 2009 when Chrysler filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and eliminated twenty-five percent of their franchised dealers.

The top photo shows the Rockville Garage where Lewis Reed got his start by becoming a partner with Robert L. and Griffith Warfield in 1915. Previously Lee Ricketts and Sons who ran the local Overland Agency, used the building until selling it to the Warfield brothers in July 1915. The Rockville Garage continued to operate under this name until Lewis Reed bought out his partners in 1918, and his brother Edgar Reed joined him at the time. The Oldsmobile and Hudson were also sold out of the Garage for a period of time.

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Two photos above show the building in 1917 after a two-story addition. Texaco gasoline was sold at the time, and a company tanker can be seen in the yard delivering a load. Dodge Brothers signs can now be seen on the original building and the second floor of the new addition, which was used for storing parts. The center photo shows the crew working there at the time posing with a touring car. The right-hand photo shows the new addition and the signage for Firestone Tires that replaced the Fisk brand that was sold there earlier.

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  • The Rockville Garage displaying their 1918 models at the Rockville Fair

The photo below shows the Reed Brothers dealership when a new storefront, signage and a gasoline pump island were added in 1922. It appears that, at the time, the original part of the garage was converted into a new car showroom and the service operation was moved out into the rear portion of the building.

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  • A new storefront and a gasoline pump island added in 1922

The left hand photo below shows Chief Charles Cooley and the members of the first motorcycle unit of the Montgomery County, Maryland Police Force, posing out in front of the showroom on July 4, 1922 with the outfits Harley-Davidson machines. The right hand photo below, taken in the later-twenties shows that a canvas awning has been added to the front of the showroom, and three of the are crew are seen posing with Dodge Commercial Cars.

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More progress and changes can be seen in the photo below taken in the late-twenties. A second story was added to the showroom with a glazed front looking out onto the Rockville Pike on the right. A modern drive-through canopy was also added along with new gasoline pumps and Dodge Car and Truck signage.

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  • New showroom, canopy and gasoline pumps added in the late-twenties

A close-up view can be seen below of the new gasoline pump-island with four pumping units along with the motor oil dispensers used at that time. The old pump island can be seen to the left along with a new Gulf Gasoline sign.

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In looking through all of the Reed Brothers photos and reading the details about the dealership’s growth, it puts into perspective how they and many others prospered in the business at the time. After the automobile had become accepted into the daily lives of many by the early teens’, the Motor Trade was a good means of a livelihood until the dark days of the Great Depression set in. We will come back to this story at the beginning of the nineteen-thirties soon.

9 responses to “The Reed Brothers – Selling Dodge’s for Ninety-Four Years, Part I

  1. Looking forward to the next story in this series. I see that “gasolene” was change to “gasoline ” in the 20’s. Can you enlighten us as to why this change occured? Perhaps that spelling was regional.

  2. What an amazing photo commentary/documentation , truly outstanding. Thanks so much for posting these. It not only profiles the growth and popularity of the motor car but also the growth of our country and the opportunity that the motor car brought for many people to venture beyond their own home town area.

  3. The question of how to spell “gas….. ” is still unanswered. The modern spelling came only a few years after the original. I have noticed until the late 1920’s some were still using ….”ene”. I’ve also noticed that the “ene” spelling is used by Locomobile in their literature until rather late! I’ll go to an older edition of Websters to see if they offer an alternate spelling and be back to you.

  4. I bought/serviced a number of cars with Reed up until my 1993 Dodge Shadow convertible–they closed not too long after that. I noticed a Warfield mentioned in the write-up as having early involvement in the company; Warfield was and is a name in that area that carries some history with it. Good to see this article–watching for the next installment.

  5. It looks like the Rockville Garage sold more than Dodges. The
    upper picture shows a 1916 model 44 Oldsmobile with V8 and
    sedan body. The 1918 model they offered was a Hudson Super
    Six Seven Passenger Touring. As a youth, I remember one being
    parked prominently at a Texaco Station on El Camino Real in
    Millbrae, Cal. , for 7 years.

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