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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.