A Fun Photograph of Early Rockville: Then & Now

It’s always amazing to look back at the past and see how everything we know today once was. This is exactly why photography is one of the most brilliant inventions ever created – it has documented so many epic moments over the years, and provides the perfect portal to step back in time for just a few moments. In this special “Then & Now” feature, I have combined one of Lewis Reed’s original photograph’s for “then” and paired it with a Google composite image for “now”. 

St Mary’s Catholic Church (THEN): This fun and interesting photograph taken by Lewis Reed is one of my favorites. The photo shows William Beall in his 1915 Pullman in front of old St Mary’s Church and his younger brother Vernon on horseback “towing” him to Reed Brothers. The photo was taken from in front of Lewis Reed’s Rockville Garage which was directly across from St Mary’s Church. Several of the Beall family were original employees at Reed Brothers, including: Leonard Beall (paint/auto body shop), Otis Beall, Walter (Bud) Beall, and Mary Anna (Slater) Beall (Bookkeeper). Bud and Otis Beall were two of Reed Brothers’ original Gulf Gasoline Station attendants.

Old St Mary's Church Rockville

Early transportation powered by true “horsepower”. Photo taken by Lewis Reed, 1915

St Mary’s Catholic Church (NOW): Today, the church overlooks the same intersection of roads now called Veirs Mill Road and Rockville Pike. With the 1950s addition of Hungerford Drive as a bypass to Rockville’s commercial street, this is a busy intersection. It is arguably the symbolic cross-road for the county, and locals refer to it as “the mixing bowl” for its unconventional configuration and heavy volume of traffic. The church’s prominent location and its connection to author F. Scott Fitzgerald, who is buried in its cemetery, contribute to St. Mary’s status as a landmark in Rockville.

St Mary's Catholic Church

St Mary’s Catholic Church, Google Image, 2021

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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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