Meet Our Founder: Lewis Reed

Lewis Reed

Lewis Reed

Lewis Reed  was born in Darnestown, Maryland on November 25, 1887 and attended school in Montgomery County. He went to work for the fore-runner of the IBM Corporation at about the time it was founded in 1913. In 1915, he founded Reed Brothers Dodge. In 1920, he married the former Ethlene Thomas of Frederick County and  moved to Gaithersburg. He had one daughter, Mary Jane, who later married Ernest Lee Gartner in 1944.

Before becoming interested in automobiles, Lewis Reed was one of the original employees of the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company, a Georgetown-based manufacturing firm that eventually became International Business Machines, Inc. He 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.

Lewis Reed, Founder

Lewis Reed was just a young man when he started selling cars built by brothers Horace and John Dodge in Detroit

When World War I broke out, Lewis Reed along with many other patriotic men joined the war effort. He did his bit in World War I by working at the Navy Yard in Washington DC as a torpedo tester.

Lewis Reed as Chauffeur

Lewis Reed (left) as Chauffeur with unidentified family circa 1914

Prior to World War I, Lewis Reed’s love of automobiles led him to becoming a chauffeur. Chauffeurs were trained to be proficient with their driving skills, but they also had to keep the luxury automobiles in tip top shape which is where his mechanic training would have come into play.

Lewis Reed was a member of the Gaithersburg Grace Methodist Church where he served as a member and Chairman of the Board of Stewards, a lay leader and President of the Men’s Bible Class.

He was also a charter member and Past President (Feb.1933 – Feb. 1937) of the Gaithersburg –  Washington Grove Volunteer Fire Department and a member of the advisory board of the Rockville branch of the First National Bank of Maryland.

Lewis Reed belonged to the Masonic Lodge of Rockville, the Pentalph Chapter of the Eastern Star and the Rockville Rotary Club. He was a Rotarian for 34 years and also had served as President of that group.

Lewis Reed Printing Pictures

Lewis Reed Printing Pictures

With photography for a hobby, one that began even before automobiles were around Montgomery County, he had amassed a large library of photographs of buildings, farm carts drawn by oxen, and other historic spots in Montgomery County. Lewis Reed expanded his hobby to include movies, and made them not only of his family, but on his trips to various parts of the world. Many of his photographs are now part of the Montgomery County (Maryland) Historical Society photo archives.

Lewis Reed on Harley Davidson circa 1915

Lewis Reed was not only passionate about automobiles and photography, he also enjoyed riding motorcycles. This is Lewis Reed on his Harley Davidson overlooking the countryside somewhere outside Frederick Maryland circa 1915.

Gaithersburgburg Washington Grove Fire Dept Past & Present Officers

Lewis Reed was a Charter Member and Past President of the Gaithersburg-Washington Grove Volunteer Fire Department. This is a photo of Past Officers of the Gaithersburg-Washington Grove Fire Department. (Lewis Reed far right)

Rotary Luncheon June 1955

Lewis Reed was a Rotarian for 34 years and had served as President of the Rockville Rotary Club. This is a Rotary get-together held on June 14, 1955. (Lewis Reed, 3rd from right)

Lewis Reed

The story of how Lewis Reed was chosen for a Dodge Brothers Motor Car franchise is lost, but his legacy continued until 2009 as the oldest Dodge dealership under the same family ownership in Maryland, and one of the oldest in the entire nation.

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About Reed Brothers

I am a co-owner of the former Reed Brothers Dodge in Rockville, Maryland. Lewis Reed, the founder of Reed Brothers Dodge was my grandfather. We were a family-owned and operated car dealership in Rockville for almost a century. I served in the United States Air Force for 30 years before retiring in the top enlisted grade of Chief Master Sergeant in July 2006. In 2016, I received the Arthur M. Wagman Award for Historic Preservation Communication from Peerless Rockville for documenting the history of Reed Brothers Dodge in both blog and book format. This distinguished honor recognizes outstanding achievement by writers, educators, and historians whose work has heightened public awareness of Rockville’s architectural and cultural heritage, growth and development.

2 responses to “Meet Our Founder: Lewis Reed”

  1. John R Hall says :

    Interesting, I was a mechanic at the Gaithersburg Washington Grove Volunteer Fire Department from 1990-1996, and had no idea Lewis Reed was a past president.

  2. Jeff Hawkins says :

    An absolutely amazing fellow! What an interesting life with so many twists and turns. My first car was a 1970 Coronet (pea green) bought at the location across from St. Mary’s. I remember they were preparing to move to the new location on 355. What a shame that Chrysler let this one go!

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