Then & Now: Rockville Fair Dirt Track Oval

The black and white photograph of the Rockville Fair auto races below was taken by Lewis Reed in 1923. The photograph was from the first incarnation of the Fair, held by the Montgomery County Agricultural Society (1846-1932) in Rockville and often known simply as the “Rockville Fair.” For this “Then & Now” feature, I have combined Lewis Reed’s original photograph for “then” and matched it with a corresponding contemporary shot for “now” to see how the location has changed throughout almost 95 years.

Rockville Fair Dirt Track Oval (THEN): Like many fairgrounds, the Rockville Fairgrounds included an oval track. Fairground race tracks, typically one-mile or half-mile dirt racing ovals with wide, sweeping curves and grandstands for spectators, were easily adapted for bicycles, harness racing, and the sport of car racing. Harness racing was one of the main attractions, but after the introduction of the automobile in the early 20th century, car races took over. The fairgrounds were just outside Rockville, where Richard Montgomery High School is today.

Rockville Fair Auto Races 1923

Crowds at the auto racetrack, Rockville Fair, August 1923. Photo by Lewis Reed

Rockville Fair Dirt Track Oval (NOW): In 1946, after the construction of Richard Montgomery High School, the old oval race track became a football field and stadium.

RMHS Football field and stadium

Richard Montgomery High School football field and stadium today

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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.

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