1920s Auto Races, Rockville Fair

1920s race car

This race car is a total mystery…what on earth is it? It appears to be a two-man race car. Photo by Lewis Reed

Early action shots like these are rare, however, the following photographs were taken by Lewis Reed at the Rockville Fairgrounds in the early 1910-1920s. The fairgrounds were just outside Rockville, about where Richard Montgomery High School is today. The Fair lasted four days, from August 21st to the 24th, and drew visitors from local counties, Washington, and Baltimore.

1920s Race Track

Dirt track action. Photo by Lewis Reed

auto races at rockville fair

August 1923. Auto race, Rockville Fair

August 25, 1923. Montgomery County, Maryland. "Auto races, Rockville Fair."

Crowds at the auto racetrack, Rockville Fair, August 1923

The photo above depicts an auto race at the Rockville fairgrounds. The photo of a harness race below was taken from approximately the same vantage point, which you don’t see very often in pictures from that era. Fairground race tracks, typically one-mile or half-mile dirt racing ovals with wide sweeping curves and grandstands for spectators, were easily adapted for the new sport of automobile racing.

Harness race rockville fair

Harness race at the Rockville fairgrounds, circa 1910. Same vantage point as auto race above. Photo by Lewis Reed

Below is a 1923 Washington Post ad for auto race at the Rockville Fair.

1923 auto races at Rockville Fair

Sources: Dirt Track Auto Racing, 1919-1941 – A Pictorial History By Don Radbruch

Shorpy.com – a vintage photo blog of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s


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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 “1920s Auto Races, Rockville Fair”

  1. Lori Carey says :

    I love seeing these photos Jeanne, very cool stuff! It’s wonderful that you can share your father’s historic photography with us.

    • Reed Brothers says :

      Hi Lori, thanks for stopping by and taking the time to post your comment. I’m so glad you enjoyed the old photos. One of the things I enjoy doing is looking through all of the old photographs and trying to figure what they are. Most of them are more than 100 years old.

      But one thing I know is that while I’m grateful that my family hung on to these old photos, I wish they’d taken the time to give them them better labels!

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