Rockville Garage

1915 Original Rockville Garage

Original 1915 Rockville Garage located at the intersection of Veirs Mill Road and Rockville Pike

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.

1917 Original Rockville Garage with 2 story addition. Note the Texaco Filling Station signage and the Texaco Petroleum fuel truck refilling the single pump in front.

1917 Original Rockville Garage with 2 story addition. Note the Texaco Filling Station signage and the Texaco Petroleum fuel truck refilling the single pump in front.

1917 – Texaco Petroleum Truck

1917 – Texaco Petroleum Truck

Fisk Tires

This photo was taken by Lewis Reed across from Rockville Garage. Old St Mary’s Church in background

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.

1916 Rockville Garage First Shop Force

Lewis Reed, (first name unknown) Long and Phillip Reed

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.

1916 - Original owners of Rockville Garage. From left: Roy Warfield - Lewis Reed - Griffith Warfield.

1916 – Original owners of Rockville Garage. From left: Roy Warfield – Lewis Reed – Griffith Warfield.

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.

1919 Bates Steel Mule Tractor

From the Montgomery County Sentinel, August 22, 1935.

Tractor Trouble?

Montgomery County Sentinel, April 18, 1919

1917 Rockville Garage

1917 Original Rockville Garage with 2 story addition. At the left side of the two story building was a narrow vehicle entrance that led to the service department in the rear. A house can be seen behind the addition. Lewis Reed later purchased the remaining home lots (6 total) to expand his dealership in the back. Note the dirt surface of Veirs Mill Road.

1918 Two Story Addition to Original Shop. View From Rear

1918 Two Story Addition to Original Shop. View From Rear

1918 Two Story Addition to Original Shop. View From Side

1918 Two Story Addition to Original Shop. View From Side on Rockville Pike. The first floor housed the Service Department and upper floor was used for parts storage. The chimney was probably to a coal furnace that was used to heat the building. The many windows allowed natural light for working on cars. Back in this time electric lighting was sparse and natural day light was what most people worked by. Signage for Firestone Tires replaced the Fisk brand that was sold at Rockville Garage earlier in 1915.

1915 Rockville Garage First Gas Station – A Single Pump
1915 Rockville Garage First G as Pump

1915 – Rockville Garage first gas station – a single pump. View looking West on Main Street of Rockville showing early Trolley car.

1915 original sales and service staff

This circa 1915 photograph shows some of the original sales and service staff of Lewis Reed’s Rockville Garage.

Rockville Garage Mechanics circa 1920s

Rockville Garage Sales & Service Staff circa 1920s. Back Row, standing left to right: name unknown, Charles Case Merry, Lester Wilson, Leonard Beall, John William Norris, name unknown, Leo C. Murray. Second Row: name unknown, name unknown, Otis Beall (Leonard’s brother), Philip Reed, Clyde Souders, Arthur Souders. Front row: middle. Walter (Bud) Beall. Lewis Reed’s brother, Philip (boxed in the middle) came to work for Reed Brothers as a mechanic in 1916. The men dressed in uniforms were Gulf gas station attendants. The identities of the other people in the photo are unknown.

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
Guy Merry
Aubrey Souders

4 responses to “Rockville Garage”

  1. Mary Ann Buhrman says :

    I was looking at the picture circa 1920s. I believe my dad is in the back row, the 5th person from the left.

    Mary Ann (Norris) Buhrman

    • Reed Brothers says :

      Hi Mary Ann, I made the edits and included your father’s name under the 1914-1920s Original Employees and Rockville Garage pages. I’m always on the lookout for info and photos and very much appreciate your help in identifying your father!

      My Best Regards,

  2. Harvey Ricketts says :

    Just wondering if you have any other information on the Lee Ricketts the Rockville Garage was purchased from. I am sure he is in my family tree somewhere just don’t want to attach the information to the wrong person. Most all of my Ricketts were in and around Montgomery County from this time.
    Thanks so much
    Harvey Ricketts

    • Reed Brothers says :

      Hello Harvey, I am currently working on a blog post that features a series of historical Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps of Rockville to illustrate how Rockville Garage/Reed Brothers Dodge evolved over time in the city’s built environment.

      In looking through the maps, the 1908 map shows the junction of Rockville Turnpike and Washington Road before the garage existed. The only structures shown in the triangle during that time were three residential lots. The next edition of the map is in 1915, and it clearly shows the one-story garage. That tells me Leonidas (Lee) Ricketts and his sons must have started the Overland agency shortly after 1908.

      Other than that, I have not been able to find any information on Ricketts Overland agency. If you happen to come across anything, I would love to know!

      My Best Regards,

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