Many early car dealers grew out of existing garages. Lewis Reed became a partner in Rockville Garage with Robert L. and Griffith Warfield. The Warfield brothers had purchased this building in July 1915, from Lee Ricketts and Sons who had the Overland Agency. The business continued to operate under the old name until it was changed at the suggestion of the late Judge Edward Peter shortly after Edgar Reed joined his brother. Reed Brothers was franchised as a Dodge dealership and service facility in 1915, less than one year after the first Dodge automobile rolled off the assembly line.
Reed Brothers was a successful company, combining car sales, auto accessories and repair service. In addition to Dodge, Reed Brothers carried Hudson, Essex, and Oldsmobile, Texaco gasoline, Fisk Tires, Goodyear Tires, General Electric appliances, and had the first Gulf gas station in the still-rural Washington D.C. area.
The late George M. Hunter, President of the Montgomery County National Bank, purchased the first automobile sold by the Rockville Garage.
1916 Rockville Garage First Shop Force
The first shop force of Rockville Garage consisted of Lewis Reed, Phillip Reed and (first name unknown) Long. A third brother, Phillip Reed, came to work for them in 1916 as a mechanic until 1944. A mechanical aptitude was necessary to be a dealer in the early 1900′s. When the cars were shipped to the dealer from the manufacturer they were only partially complete and they needed final assembly, so the new dealer quickly became skilled at repair.
Lewis Reed received his training at the Pierce Arrow factory at Buffalo, New York, the Dodge and Hudson factories at Detroit and the Washington Auto College. Pierce-Arrow was once one of the most recognized and respected names in the automobile industry. For 38 years, the Pierce-Arrow Motor Car Company in Buffalo, New York, produced some of the finest automobiles made.
In 1917, Lewis Reed bought out Rockville Garage from the Warfield’s and changed the name to Reed Brothers Dodge. Reed Brothers Dodge was the first to sell Dodge cars in Montgomery County, Maryland. Initially, Reed Brothers sold Oldsmobile, Essex, and Hudson, along with Dodge. Later they became Dodge Plymouth dealers.
1919 Dealer of Bates Steel Mule Tractors
In addition to automobiles, the Rockville Garage also sold Bates Steel Mules, “the most efficient tractor in America.” The Bates Steel Mule Tractor, sold in 1919 by the Rockville Garage, was designed at the dawn of the steel-wheeled tractor era to pull any horse-drawn implement the farmer owned.
1915 Rockville Garage First Gas Station – A Single Pump
Other Original Employees
Raleigh S. Chinn, Rockville, started as Salesman with Reed Brothers in 1920
Evelyn Beane, Administrative Secretary
Paul F. Wire, Bookkeeper
W. Lester Wilson, Rockville, started in 1918 as Shop Foreman and stayed for 28 years
Alfred Fraley, Redland, started in 1917 as a mechanic and stayed for more than 30+ years
Benjamin J. Thompson, Colesville, started in 1917 as Salesman and stayed for 30+ years
Phillip Reed (a brother), started in 1916 as a mechanic. Phillip was a part of the first shop force and stayed with the company until 1944
Grafton Reed (a brother), worked as a mechanic in 1921
Leo (Pat) Murray started in 1925 and was the Parts Department Manager. Pat worked at Reed Brothers for more than 21 years
Richard C. Burdette, Rockville, mechanic
John Burdette, Gaithersburg, Gas Station Attendant
Marvin Shultz, Gas Station Attendant/Salesman. Stayed with Reed Brothers his entire career
Mary Ann (Slater) Beall, Rockville, Bookkeeper