Then & Now: Vinson’s Pharmacy

“Then and Now” photos are an excellent way to explore the passage of time. In this special post, I have combined one of Lewis Reed’s original photograph’s for “then” and matched it with a corresponding contemporary shot for “now”. Taken approximately 114 years apart, these photos show Vinson’s Pharmacy in Rockville, then and now.

Vinson’s Pharmacy (THEN): Vinson’s Pharmacy was built in the 1880s and was run by Robert William “Doc” Vinson from 1900 until his death in 1958. The store had previously been owned and/or operated by several men, including D.F. Owens and E.T. Fearon. The drugstore was a popular gathering place for city politicians, and that President Woodrow Wilson once personally traveled there to buy Wolfhound tablets.

Most roads in Montgomery County, even those running  though towns, were dirt. In the photo below, taken in downtown Rockville, a delivery wagon can be seen at the curb, as well as advertisements for Coca-Cola, which would have been a product only 20 years old at that time, having been invented and trademarked in 1887. Trolley tracks bisect Montgomery Avenue. Previous to Edgar Reed’s enlistment in World War I, he had been employed as a clerk by Vinson’s Drug Store for eight years. In 1919, Edgar became a partner with his brother, Lewis Reed, in the firm Reed Brothers Dodge.

Vinsons Pharmacy, 1906

Rockville looking east down Montgomery Avenue at Perry Street (now Maryland Avenue); Vinson’s Pharmacy is on the corner. Photo by Lewis Reed, ca. 1906

Vinson’s Pharmacy (NOW): The building was torn down in 1962 and replaced with an office building during Rockville’s “urban renewal”.

Vinson's Pharmacy location

2019 location of Vinson’s Pharmacy on the corner of Montgomery and Maryland Avenue.


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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 “Then & Now: Vinson’s Pharmacy”

  1. John Clingan says :

    Hi, really enjoy your blog. Attended elementary school at St. Marys in late 1950’s early 1960’s and walked past Reed Brothers twice a day. I also remember sitting in my dentists (Dr. Kapiloff) chair on the second floor of the MCNBank building right across the street from Vinsons. It was a very cool looking place. The Abby building that replaced it was ok, but lacked the character of Vinsons.About 6 months ago, I went back to Rockville and waked around the new buildings that replaced “Old Rockville”. One of the things that came to mind was a “Now and Then” picture story. Thank you for this. Best Regards

    • Reed Brothers says :

      Hello John, Thanks for visiting and taking the time to share your story. Times were definitely much simpler back then. Glad you enjoyed the blog.

      My Best Regards,

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