Then & Now: Halpine Store/Radio Shack 111 Years Apart
Looking at old photographs is like peering through an open window back into history. Not only do they give you a sense of wonder from traveling back in time, but also a staggering feeling of awe from seeing just how much things have changed. For this post, I have used one of Lewis Reed’s original photographs for “then” and a Google Maps street view image from today for “now”.
The Halpine Store (THEN): The Halpine Store, also known as the Lenovitz General Store, was built on Rockville Pike in 1898, taking advantage of the prime location on the trolley and railroad lines and the Pike. The store sold food, gasoline and other items to locals and Pike travelers. The man standing just in front of the trolley tracks is James H. Handy (b. 1890) who lived at Halpine and worked for Mr. Copeland on the Wilkins farm. Handy served in the U.S. Army during WWI, as a gunner for the 371st infantry, doing two tours of duty in France. In this photo, he is about 16 years old. Note the telephone or telegraph poles, and the trolley tracks paralleling the road. The nearby Halpine railroad station also brought customers to the area, and the store became the social/community gathering place for the Halpine area. Tradition has it that during the days of “Local Option” when the sale of alcoholic beverages was forbidden in the County, the men of Rockville traveled to the Halpine Store to gather on the broad front porch and sip its special brand of “coffee” served in tin cups.
The proprietors, Benjamin and Anna Lenovitz, lived on the second floor. The building burned in 1923 and a new fire-resistant brick building was rebuilt in its place. This building, at 1600 Rockville Pike, became a Radio Shack, selling computers and electronics.
Seen in the black & white photograph taken by Lewis Reed in 1906, is The Halpine-Lenovitz General Store at Rockville Pike and Halpine Road.
The Halpine Store/Radio Shack (NOW): The same view one hundred and eleven years later. Rockville Pike is now six lanes, linking the once outlying Halpine and Montrose with Rockville’s town center in one long strip of commercial enterprises and office buildings.
Source: Maryland Historical Trust