Lewis Reed Photos: Remembering Trolley Cars of Rockville’s Past

This special post is a collection of early trolley car photos that were taken by Lewis Reed in the early 20th century. I wanted to share them because they offer a visual history of a part of Rockville’s transportation past.

With photography for a hobby, one that began even before automobiles were around, Lewis Reed had amassed a large library of photographs of buildings, farm carts drawn by oxen, trolley cars, and other historic spots in Maryland, Washington, DC and Virginia. Many of his early photographs are now part of the Montgomery County Historical Society photo archives.

Below are some vintage (circa early 1900s) trolley car photographs from Lewis Reed’s collection (click on photos to enlarge):

Trolley to Rockville

Lewis Reed took this photo of a trolley bound for Rockville with a five-by-four box camera which produced an image on a glass plate. Note the cow catcher on the front of the trolley.

The route of the Rockville trolley car started at the Washington terminus at Wisconsin and M streets in Northwest D.C., went up through Rockville along Rockville Pike and Montgomery Avenue to Laird Street and back again. From 1900 – 1935, the trolley cars went past Reed Brothers Dodge as they traveled up Rockville Pike.

1915 Rockville Garage First Gas Pump

1915 – Rockville Garage first gas station – a single pump. View looking West on Main Street of Rockville showing an early Trolley car. Also in the background is the old St Mary’s Cemetery.

1920s Gulf Gas

Late 1920′s. Note the unpaved dirt road on Rockville Pike and trolley tracks running past Reed Brothers Dodge

Trolley Wreck - Montrose Rd & 355

Trolley Wreck – Montrose Rd & Rt 355

Trolley Wreck - Montrose Rd & 355

Trolley Wreck – Montrose Rd & 355

Georgetown Trolley Car

Georgetown Trolley Car

Trolley Interior

Trolley Car Interior and Passengers

D.C. Car Barn Wisconsin Ave

Western Avenue car barn for the streetcars that served the Georgetown-Tenelytown-Bethesda-Rockville line

A car barn is the streetcar equivalent of a garage for buses. It’s a covered facility in which streetcars were stored overnight, cleaned and given light repairs before the next day’s run. The car barn for the trolleys at the time was the second Western Avenue car barn for the streetcars that served the Georgetown-Tenelytown-Bethesda-Rockville line. It was located at on west side of Wisconsin at between Harrison and Jennifer. It was demolished and later replaced by a purpose-built bus garage which is still in use by WMATA. The National Capital Trolley Museum was instrumental in helping to identify this car barn.

Rockville Trolley Line 1900-1935 - Peerless Rockville 2002

Map of the Rockville Trolley Line 1900-1935 – Peerless Rockville

Peerless Rockville
National Capital Trolley Museum

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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.

3 responses to “Lewis Reed Photos: Remembering Trolley Cars of Rockville’s Past”

  1. Robert D. Reed, Jr. says :

    Cool! I can remember tracks running through downtown Rockville when I was a kid. My dad, Robert Reed, Sr. and I would stand on the corner, across from the Bank, and looking down town towards the Reed Brothers Station and I remember seeing tracks. Of course being so small I had no Idea what I was looking at and what they were for. I found out later that the tracks were for the electric buses at that point in time, around 1953-1954. I’m pretty sure that’s correct. I’m probably wrong. I’m having a hard time remember that far back, Ha! But it’s real cool to see all those wonderful pictures taken by my Great Uncle Lewis.

    • Reed Brothers says :

      Thanks for stopping by, Robert, and taking the time to leave your comment. Happy holidays and best wishes to you and yours for the New Year!

  2. Kevin Geelong says :

    What a beautiful collection of photos. I love reminiscing of yesteryear. I’ve never grown up with trams here in Australia but they have been in Melbourne for years and I think they’ve just put some in on the Gold Coast. I one day hope to get to the US and visit many of it’s historical areas.

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