Then & Now: Windsor Store in Darnestown

Photos are our window to the past. You might not realize how much Darnestown has changed until you look back and see what it looked like in the past. In this “Then & Now” feature, I have combined one of Lewis Reed’s original photograph’s for “then” and matched it with a google street view image for “now”. Travel back 110 years in time to see how Windsor Store in Darnestown used to be.

A bit of Darnestown history: The Darnestown area, which was located at the intersection of Darnestown and Seneca Roads, was settled in the 1750s. Darnestown Road (Route 28) was an old Indian trail and is recognized as one of the oldest roads in Montgomery County, Maryland. By the 1820’s, the town began to blossom and hosted a wheelwright, the Grist Mill, a blacksmith, a physician, a post office and a variety of other businesses. Darnestown became an important place for commerce in the area. Seneca Road led to a sandstone mill and the C&O canal at Seneca Village. From Darnestown one could travel either by stagecoach along Darnestown Road or board a packet boat on the canal at Seneca.

THEN: Mr James Windsor, grandfather of Curry England, opened the Windsor Store at the corner of Seneca and Darnestown Roads in approximately 1878. He operated the store for many years, and also served as Darnestown’s Postmaster for some 20 years. During the 1800s mail arrived three times a week by stagecoach from Rockville and local people gathered for the arrival, creating a regular social event. The Darnestown Post Office was discontinued in 1911. The Windsor building survived until 1969, when it caught fire and burned to the ground.

Windsor Store Darnestown

Windsor Store in Darnestown, early 1900s. Photo by Lewis Reed

NOW: Today, a 6-Twelve Convenient Mart sits on the site.

6-Twelve Convenient Mart Darnestown

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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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