Tag Archives: Harley-Davidson
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.
This Indian Sales agency in Washington, DC, was operated Herb Reiber who enjoyed a long career in the motorcycle business that began in the twenties, and continued on to the mid-sixties. He first worked for Harley-Davidson as: a service instructor, a rider on the factory hill climb team, and was part of Harley-Davidson’s racing department. He was also instrumental in the building of the 45 CI, V-twin, twin-cam, overhead-valve engine that was campaigned in 1928 on the hill climb circuit.
Later Reiber ran the Indian Motorcycle dealership pictured here, and also handled several other machines built by British makers, including the Vincent, A-J-S, and the Matchless. The photos are courtesy of Art Lumsden and he believes the top image was taken in 1953 and shows the new Indians used by the Park Police to lead the Eisenhower inauguration. The combination showroom and parts department in the late-forties can be seen below. You can visit with the Antique Motorcycle Club of America here. 100s more motorcycle photos can be found here on The Old Motor.
Signage listing “Aeroplane Construction and High Class Motor Cars Repairs,” is the kind of statement that does tend to get your attention. The Station Garage, was located in Christchurch, New Zealand, and if the shop was capable of building airplanes, as they stated, there was a good chance their repair work was also above average.
There are some interesting automobiles parked out in front of the establishment: on the far left is a Model “T” Ford wearing a very sporty roadster body that was likely to have been built there on the island by a coachbuilder, in the center is a circa 1911 Delage Roadster, and on the right, a teens’ Harley-Davidson and the back of a Model “T” Roadster can be seen.
Inside the garage, two more cars are visible: On the left a Buick can be viewed through the doorway behind the Model “T”, and on the right in the middle of the photo is a mid-teens’ American Briscoe. This unusual-looking auto was built in Jackson, Michigan, and is easily identifiable by its cyclops headlamp. A number of them were exported around the world.
The signage on the windows also promoted services and goods that were offered: “Guaranteed Economy Overhauls”, “Star Tires”, “Used Car Exchange”, and H.G. Jones a “Motor Car Trimmer” offered his services. If you can tell us more about the facility, or identify the unknown roadster, please send us a comment. Photo courtesy of the National Library of New Zealand.