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Then & Now: Barnesville Train Station, 1912

Looking at old photographs is like peering through an open window back into history. Not only do they give you a sense of wonder from traveling back in time, but also a staggering feeling of awe from seeing just how much things have changed. For this post, I have used one of Lewis Reed’s original photographs for “then” and a Wikimedia Commons image for “now”.
 
After the Civil War, Montgomery County saw swift development, spurred on by the quick advancement of the Baltimore & Ohio (B&O) Railroad. Opening in 1873, the Metropolitan Branch of the B&O had a major impact on the county’s economy through its freight and passenger service. Passenger service, when combined with the introduction of trolley cars, made it feasible for developers to build residential developments in the suburbs of Washington, DC, and the rail line made the county’s proximity to the District a pivotal factor in the growth of its economy. Many residents lived in the county and commuted to work in the capital, and many farmers sold their goods at markets within and surrounding the city. The train stops that are still in use on the MARC line have stories of their own.
 

BARNESVILLE STATION (THEN): The Barnesville train station, also known as “Sellman Station,” was torn down in the late 1950s. Sellman, apparently named after Captain William O. Sellman who owned land there, was a separate, thriving community located just a mile south of Barnesville. Development began around 1873 when the railroad came through and the town was gradually abandoned with the advent of interstate highways and automobiles.

Barnesville Train Station 1912

Barnesville Station, constructed circa 1873; this frame building apparently housed the post office as well. Photo by Lewis Reed, 1912.

BARNESVILLE STATION (NOW): Built about 1930 as the first metering station for the Washington area gas supply, this building was saved from imminent destruction by concerned citizens dedicated to both the preservation of the visible past and revitalization of the railroad. On February 16, 1977 it traveled 23 miles by road from Rockville to begin a new existence as the Barnesville railroad station.

For a number of years after the old station was torn down in the late 1950s, there was no shelter at all for the popular up-county stop. It was finally decided to move to the site a 16-by-22 foot historic metering station owned by the Washington Gas Light Company, with the gas company, the county, and the city and residents of Barnesville sharing the costs. The squarish little structure had a makeover after the move. It was painted inside and out and and a wide overhanging roof was added just below the original roof line, giving the building more an authentic “train station” look, and it was re-dedicated on October 10, 1977. Snuggled up against the woods, surrounded by trees and shrubbery in a rural area just south of Barnesville on Route 109 (Beallsville Road), the station today is a pretty sight.

Barnesville MD station

The metering station installed at Sellman station by the tracks which today serves as the Barnesville (MARC) Station. It was moved here from Rockville in 1977 for preservation. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Source: The Montgomery County Story Newsletter, Vol. 37, No.1, February 1994. “Train Stations and Suburban Development Along the Old Baltimore and Ohio Railroad” by Jo Beck

Montgomery Magazine Wheels and Deals Feature

Reed Brothers Dodge, Montgomery MagazineReed Brothers is very proud and honored to be featured in the month of August/September 2022 Montgomery Magazine, “Then & Now” section. The black and white photograph above shows the expansion of Reed Brothers Dogde showroom and Gulf Gasoline Station that took place in 1941. At about the same time as the gas station was remodeled, Lewis Reed split up the Sales and Parts and Service operations by constructing a complete new building that was located at the intersection of at Montgomery Avenue and Dodge Street.

A closer look at the photo reveals the price of gasoline as 15 cents. On the right attached to a telephone pole is a sign pointing the way to Olney. In addition to the Gulf signage there is a small, barely visible sign below that promotes, “Clean Rest Rooms”.Reed Brothers Dodge, Montgomery Magazine

The color photograph above, is the dealership’s location today, now known as Veterans Park. In the 1970s, the site was known as the Francis Scott Key Memorial Park, and later in 1988, it was permanently rededicated as Veterans Park. In the late 1960s, the state of Maryland acquired the land to widen Rt 355 and donated the remaining sliver to the City. The State of Maryland named the connector street behind the dealership’s original location “Dodge Street” following the dealership’s 1941 expansion.

Montgomery Magazine is a lifestyle magazine, with timely articles on county leaders, entertainment, sports, neighborhood and restaurant profiles, entrepreneurs, historic landmarks then and now, plus seasonal special sections of local interest.

Find the issue online at: http://digital.montgomerymag.com/issues/August-2022/index.html

Then & Now: Clarksburg Main Street, 1913

This post is a continuation of a series of “Then & Now” images from Lewis Reed’s Photo Collection alongside photographs of how they appear today. Lewis Reed worked hard to preserve a visual history of Montgomery County, Maryland and surrounding area long before automobiles were even around. As early as 1910, he toured on his motorcycle across the state of Maryland and took photographs of many historic locations. Taken approximately 109 years apart, these photos takes us back in time to Clarksburg, Maryland at the intersection of the main road between Georgetown and Frederick and an old Seneca trail. The corresponding color photo is a google maps screenshot from the same location more than a century later.

CLARKSBURG MAIN STREET (THEN): In the early 20th century, Clarksburg was the third largest town in Montgomery County, after Rockville and Poolesville. Clarksburg had four general stores, two hotels, and an academy of learning. It also had a blacksmith, a doctor’s office, tanneries, shoemakers, winemakers, tailors, wheelwrights, fertilizer businesses, skilled farmers, master carpenters, and two town bands.

The black and white image was taken by Lewis Reed in 1913, where Clarksburg Road (to Boyds) met Frederick Road (Rt 355). Frederick Road has also been known as The Georgetown Road and the Great Road. The town of Clarksburg was laid out along Frederick Road. The road was used as the stagecoach line from Frederick to Georgetown and it remains as the present main street through Clarksburg. Turning wagon ruts/tire tracks are visible in the lower left corner. The first house on the right was the Horace Willson House (still standing). Left of the Willson house was Willson’s Store, built on the site of the town’s first trading post, established by town founder John Clark (still standing). Established April 1, 1800, this was the location of the first post office in Clarksburg, the second oldest in Montgomery County. In 1842, the old trading post building was replaced with a two-story general store. The dwelling beyond the pole served as a church parsonage (still standing) and just beyond stands the Clarksburg United Methodist Church. The church was used for church dinners, 4-H meetings, and community gatherings. The vehicle appears to be a very early Ford Model T.

Clarksburg Main Street (Frederick Road Rt 355). Photo by Lewis Reed, 1913.

CLARKSBURG MAIN STREET (NOW): Over 109 years have passed and three buildings in Lewis Reed’s photo still remain. The structure on the right in the current day photo below was the Lewis General Store and the yellow vacant house a little further down the road was the church parsonage. The recently renovated Lewis General Store received an award for best restoration of a historic commercial property from the county. The charming building boasts a tin ceiling, original counters; original beams from 1750 are exposed in some areas, wood floors, and many historic details throughout. The steps to the ME Church South are still visible today on Rt 335 near where it intersects with Spire Street (about where the car is in the image). The congregation claims to be the “oldest continuous Methodist congregation in Montgomery County”. Today, Clarksburg remains a small rural town, retaining many of its 19th century structures. It is among Montgomery County’s earliest, most intact historic towns.

Due to the Clarksburg Square Road extension that now connects to Frederick Road, the Horace Willson House was relocated approximately 70 feet to the south to preserve it. The building is currently a wine and beer shop.

Clarksburg Main Street 2022

This current day image is a google maps screenshot from the corner of Redgrave Place and Rt 355.

Sources of Information:
Joan Edwards Ruff, Resident of Clarksburg for 45 years and granddaughter of Lillian and Elwood Barr
“The History of Clarksburg, King’s Valley, Purdum, Browningsville and Lewisdale Maryland” by Dona L. Cuttler
MHT Inventory Form13-10 Clarksburg Historic District

Then & Now: Washington’s Cherry Blossoms

Time passes, but the cherry blossoms always come back. Seeing the cherry blossoms is a time-honored D.C. tradition that dates back to 1912, when Tokyo gifted 3,020 cherry trees to the U.S. in an act of friendship. While many of the original trees have been replaced, the Tidal Basin’s beauty has persisted for more than a century. Each spring, more than 1.5 million visitors descend upon Washington, D.C. each year to admire the 3,000-plus trees.

Here are “then and now” comparison shots of the Cherry Blossoms on the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C. from 1930 and 2022.

Cherry Blossoms on the Tidal Basin (THEN): From Lewis Reed’s collection of photographs. Cherry blossoms in bloom along the Tidal Basin, circa 1930s with my mother, Mary Jane (Reed) Gartner.

1930s DC Cherry Blossoms

Cherry blossoms in bloom along the Tidal Basin with my mother, Mary Jane (Reed) Gartner. Photo by Lewis Reed, ca. 1930

Cherry Blossoms on the Tidal Basin (NOW): The “now” photo is a google image of approximately the same location… some 90 years later. According to the National Park Service, DC’s 2022 cherry blossoms will reach peak bloom sometime between March 22-25. The best viewing of the cherry blossom trees typically lasts four to seven days after peak bloom begins, but the blossoms can last for up to two weeks under ideal conditions.

DC Cherry Blossoms

Cherry blossoms in bloom along the Tidal Basin today.

The 2022 Festival, March 20 – April 17, includes four weeks of events featuring diverse and creative programming promoting traditional and contemporary arts and culture, natural beauty, and community spirit. You can read the announcement with details here.
 
BloomCam is a 24/7, live, real-time view of the cherry trees lining the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC. Positioned on the roof of the Mandarin Oriental, BloomCam offers year-round views of the cherry trees and their seasonal changes to viewers worldwide and is highlighted here during Bloom Watch as we await the peak blooms.
 

Fun facts about Washington, DC’s cherry blossoms

  • The first donation of 2,000 trees, received in 1910, was burned on orders from President William Howard Taft. Insects and disease had infested the gift, but after hearing about the plight of the first batch, the Japanese mayor sent another 3,020 trees to DC two years later.
  • The first two trees were planted on the north bank of Tidal Basin in March 1912, and they still stand today. You can see them at the end of 17th Street Southwest, marked by a large plaque.
  • It’s against the law to pick the cherry blossoms in Washington DC. While there aren’t any subtle wire fences or stern security guards like in a museum, any attempts to create your own corsage may very well land you a fine.
  • The majority of the cherry blossom trees around the Tidal Basin are of the Yoshino variety. But another species, the Kwanzan, usually blooms two weeks after the Yoshino trees, giving visitors a second chance to catch the blossoms.
  • The average lifespan of a cherry blossom tree is only 20 to 30 years, but nearly 100 of the original trees from 1912 still thrive at the Tidal Basin due to the maintenance of the National Park Service.
  • No, they’re not all from 1912, reinforcements are sometimes necessary. New trees have been regularly planted, including in 1965, the late 1980s, 1999 and from 2002 to 2006, according to the NPS.

Then & Now: River House Lodge, Rowelsburg, WV

This post is a continuation of a series of “Then & Now” images that will show photographs of buildings, street scenes, and other historical locales from Lewis Reed’s Photo Collection alongside photographs of how they appear today. Taken approximately 100 years apart, these photos show the River House Lodge in Rowelsburg, West Virginia, then and now.

River House Lodge (THEN): This little railroad town of Rowesburg has always had hotels, beginning with the original River House, an early tavern and hotel serving the needs of a growing town in the 1850s. The railroad brought prosperity to Rowlesburg, designed the town and named it. Mr. Rowles was a surveyor with the railroad and laid out the plots and streets for the town.

The house was designed at the turn of the century or just before but the features were unusual. The top part of the house was Edwardian with panels and battens, creating a kind of checkerboard appearance. The lower half of the house was finished with narrow wood siding. The gables were of wood shingles.

River House Lodge Rowlesburg WV 1914

River House Lodge located on Main Street in Rowlesburg, West Virginia. Lewis Reed’s circa 1926 Dodge Brothers Sedan is parked in front. Photo by Lewis Reed.

River House Lodge (NOW): Today, the River House has been transformed into a small, boutique lodge tucked away in the mountains of West Virginia. Though razed long ago, the “New” River House now takes its place to welcome guests into a motif of railroading that once dominated the small town of Rowlesburg. B&O artifacts adorn the rooms and hallways. Pictures of the past history of the town take visitors back to a different time, one of railroading in its golden era.

One source says that the original River House was a tavern and railroad lodge operated by A.A. Perry. The lodge was the center of this small settlement, with homes scattered nearby. The building sat next to the railroad, as did most of the early structures in Rowlesburg. Downtown Rowlesburg Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005.

Rowelsburg River House Lodge

The River House Lodge today is still very recognizable.

Source: www.riverhouselodge.org

 

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