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Rogers Garage: Packard Sales and Service Hanover, New Hampshire

Hanover, New Hampshire is the home of Dartmouth College, a prestigious Ivy League University first established in 1769. The rural college town has never has had a large population, although about ten-percent of its citizens are a part of the academic and administrative staff, many of which earn a relatively high income yearly; this made Hanover a perfect place for Rogers Garage Inc., an automobile dealership which apparently began operations there in the 1910s.

  • An enlargeable photo of Rogers Garage when it was handling Packards in the early-1950s.

The lead image shows a view of the Garage taken in 1951 or ’52 when it was selling and servicing Packards, however it is not known at this time how long the Garage had been handling the luxury cars. At about this time it appears that the management was able to see the writing on the wall indicating that the Packard Motor Car Company was on its way out. Soon afterward in January of 1953, the firm began selling Chevrolets; the Dealership continued selling with the popular brand until it closed in 1965, and the building was later demolished.

Further research shows the operation apparently first started in the teens selling the Reo Car at 18 Lebanon Street in Hanover, its one and only location for the next fifty years.

Tell us what you find of interest in the photographs courtesy of dartblog. If you can tell us more about Rogers Garage please send in a comment.

  • Advertisement in the Automobile Blue Book 1917 Volume II. 

  • Expandable view of Rogers Garage and salesmen with seven new Packards.

  • View of Rogers Garage selling Chevrolets in 1956 with the new 1957 models on the way.

17 responses to “Rogers Garage: Packard Sales and Service Hanover, New Hampshire

  1. It looks like the original building was upgraded and embellished at a later date. A very attractive storefront.

  2. If Roger’s began selling Chevrolet in January 1953, this photo must be very close to the end of the Packard sales, as they are all 1953 models. The ’52 models, with the exception of the low-end 200, had teeth in the grille and bottle openers on the rear quarters. The first car in line looks to be a Patrician, top-of-the-line. The next couple are Patrician or Cavalier, judging by the chrome trim. The convertible is, I think, a Mayfair, not a Caribbean. Can’t tell what the last three are but they all have white wall tires except the very last car. Interesting that such a small town would have such a large sale force for an expensive car. I didn’t think College professors did that well in the 1950’s. To the left of the door in the window of the Packard photo is the Packard slogan “Ask the Man who Owns One”. In the same spot in the Chevrolet photo is something on the window, in the same spot, but I can’t make it out. Do you suppose they left that distinctive slogan on the glass?

    • Judging by the transformer at the top, that “Ask the man who owns one” sign is a neon sign so would be difficult to modify. In the latter photo, the “one” is apparent while the rest is difficult to discern in the shadow cast by the sign on the Venetian blinds behind. I guess since it doesnt “say” Packard they might have felt it could apply to Chevys as well, altho I’m sure the Packard clientele would have disagreed.

  3. The Packard ‘s in the photo look like 53’s to me. Too bad the building was demolished. We still have a few similar buildings still standing in the city where I reside. The local preservation group won’t grant them historical status citing that they are supposedly too new, having been built in the 20’s.

  4. Interesting dealership for Dartmouth. ‘Roger’s Garage’ hardly seems like the title to a Packard dealership, but I have to remember it wasn’t always selling such a prestigious line of cars. I’ve always found it interesting how dealers decades ago were often aired up with selling gas too. Kind of one-stop shopping of sorts. I guess the gas kept the lights on when sales were slow.
    I like what might be a `56 Bel Air cvt. ‘demo’ sitting next to the showroom in late `56. Oh, to have been a fly on the wall back then…..

  5. I knew these had to be ’52-’53 as the Cormorant hood ornament was changed from upswept wings, to more swept back wings, which these cars appear to have.

  6. The management of Roger’s Garage must have been pretty sharp and forward-thinking. Not only did they survive two world wars, five decades of economic boom and bust and the auto consumers’ changing tastes but they were able to sense the future of the makes they sold and were willing to change. And they picked popular sellers too from REO to Packard to Chevrolet and probably a few in between. Even more futuristic, they accepted credit cards! 1953 was just three years after the modern card was introduced by Diner’s Club. This was revolutionary, especially for a small merchant in a small town.

  7. Speaking of credit cards, maybe someone can confirm the rumor I heard years ago that American Express was the idea of Fred Page founder of Page’s Model A Garage in Haverhill, N.H. Back to Roger’s Garage in Hanover, it may have been the seller of a very nice 1916 Reo the Fifth I looked in the next town over way back in the early 1970’s, so nice and original, I hope it never got restored. Bob

    • Not sure if he invented their credit card but I did talk to him in the early 60s when he was working in New York and he advised me on a car to buy. You can read about it in the
      July-August Bulb Horn (VMCCA national magazine).

  8. I would love to see that Convertible in my driveway! Great story of a dealership as it grew and changed over the years.

  9. All the Packards are 1953 models, a Patrician on the left end, three more Cavalier or Patrician sedans, two bracketing the Convertible. Senior series models can be identified by the upper layer bumper bar, which is omitted on the Clippers which the last two on the right are.

    Roger’s Garage is graphic evidence of a major problem Packard was grappling with in its late years: significant losses of dealer representation when both the dealers themselves decided that better opportunities would be had with a more popular make while “raiding” by Big Three sales representatives wooed away the more successful outlets with promises of greater business with a more widely-accepted make. These actions made the “they’re-going-to-be-an-orphan-car” pronouncement a self-fulfilling prophecy.

  10. In the June 9, 1952 issue of the Valley News, the first issue of a now 65 year old daily newspaper, Rogers has an ad boasting of 35 years of service in the automotive industry, 35 employees and new Chevrolet and Packard cars. So they obviously were selling both brands at the time the picture was taken although there is no Chevrolet presence that I can see.

  11. It looks like the neon Chevrolet sign is in the far right of both photos. Might explain why there are Packards and Chevys of the same model year but in separate shots.

    • Milt,

      Great eye !!

      Maybe the Packard sign, on the left ,in the 1st picture, is behind the “Power Pair” sign in the 2nd photograph.

      In 1953 PACKARD produced more than 90,000 cars; in ’56 they produced a little over 10,000; in ’57 under 5,000.

      AML

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