1921 Rockville Volunteer Fire Department Charter Members

On the evening of March 9th 1921, the Rockville Volunteer Fire Department was formed by fifty-one men who gathered at the office of the Potomac Electric Power Company on S. Stonestreet Ave after a major fire at a store on East Montgomery Ave in old downtown Rockville raged out of control and threatened to burn down the entire block just a month before. That night, officers were elected and a committee was appointed to raise funds for the department. The first officers were President Dr. O.M. Linthicum, Vice President C.H. Robertson, Secretary-Treasurer Bache Abert, Engineer W.F. Disney, and Chief Joseph Howes. William Prettyman was named chairman of the committee designated to canvas house-to-house for funds. The fifty-one men, listed on the monument above, formed the original members of the Rockville Volunteer Fire Department 101 years ago.

Two of those men were Rockville residents, Edgar Reed and Phillip Reed. Edgar was a partner with his brother, Lewis Reed, in the firm Reed Brothers Dodge. Phillip was a brother of Lewis Reed and a part of the first work force at Reed Brothers Dodge. Phillip came to work for the dealership in 1916 as a mechanic until 1944. Lewis Reed was an original incorporator and Charter Member of the Gaithersburg-Washington Grove Volunteer Fire Department.

1922 Ford Motor Company Model T Waterous Pumper

Rockville VFD paid $3,424 for their first fire engine, a 1922 Ford Motor Company Model T Waterous Pumper. The top running speed was 18 MPH. The unit is pictured here are the original charter members.

Only six people were allowed to ride on the Model-T in times of emergency and to prevent an argument, a ring system was developed. The first man to arrive after the siren sounded, grabbed the red ring, earning the coveted driver’s seat. The second man would grab the blue ring for the next most popular position, the officer’s seat. The remaining four men would grab white rings, signifying riding the back step. The rest would follow in their own cars.

Rockville VFD Monument

The Rockville VFD monument used to sit across the street from the Montgomery County Court house and in front of the old library on E. Jefferson Street. The monument currently sites in storage as it was removed for the building of the new courthouse.

Organized with 51 men in 1921, the RVFD now has a diverse complement of over 270 volunteers supported by almost 100 Montgomery County career firefighters.

Source: Rockville VFD Website

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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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