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Then & Now: Smithsonian Institution Castle

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 1905, he toured on his motorcycle across the states of Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. and took photographs of many historic locations. Taken approximately 115 years apart, you can see how the Smithsonian Institution Castle looks both the same and completely different from over a century ago.

Smithsonian Institution Castle (THEN): The Smithsonian Institution Building, popularly known as the “Castle,” was designed by architect James Renwick, Jr. Initially, the Castle was intended to be built in white marble and then in yellow sandstone. The architect and the building committee finally agreed on using Seneca red sandstone from the Seneca Quarry, located in Montgomery County, Maryland. When it was completed in 1855, it sat on an isolated piece of land cut off from downtown Washington, DC, by a canal. In the ensuing decades, the Castle became the anchor for the National Mall, as additional museums and government buildings were constructed around it.

Smithsonian Castle 1907

Smithsonian Institution Castle. Photo taken by Lewis Reed in 1907

Smithsonian Institution Castle (NOW): The same view over a century later. The Smithsonian Institution Castle, located near the National Mall in Washington, D.C. behind the National Museum of African Art and the Sackler Gallery, houses the Smithsonian Institution’s administrative offices and information center.

Smithsonian Institution Castle

Smithsonian Institution Castle today

The Pocono Mountains Premier Haunted House, Then & Now

With Halloween just around the corner, I thought it would be fun to feature a photograph that Lewis Reed took of the Saylorsburg Lake House Hotel, now the site of The Pocono Mountains Premier Haunted House, Hotel of Horror. The aging Lake House Hotel in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, once a vibrant Poconos retreat, was a popular hotel for the region’s tourists who were looking for fun on nearby Saylors Lake. During the hotel’s heyday, its staff was booking rooms a year in advance. Today, the former hotel’s fame is generated from its annual Halloween haunted-house attraction.

Lake House Hotel (THEN): The legend of the Lake House Hotel spans more than two-hundred years. According to local folklore, during World War II, many of the employees at the Lake House were called to assist in the Pennsylvania National Guard, leaving the local asylum with one lone security guard to watch over the entire building. The inmates escaped, made their way to the hotel and took it over. The insane patients performed experiments on the guests. What was once a renowned resort for the rich and famous, became a torture chamber.

Saylorsburg Lake House

The Lake House Hotel, Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania. Photo taken by Lewis Reed, 1915.

Lake House Hotel (NOW): The hotel was purchased in 1990 and turned into an Antique Co-Op, and then in 1992 saw its first haunted house attraction. The Hotel of Horror and Altered Nightmares are both indoor, walk through Haunted House attractions featuring live actors and paranormal activity housed in the 200 year old “abandoned” Pocono Mountain resort once called The Lake House Hotel in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania. This 2022 season will celebrate the 30th year that the Hotel of Horror has been fascinating and horrifying legions of fans from the far reaches of the United States and even internationally. To all the readers of this blog: Have a spooky, enjoyable and very safe Halloween!

Saylorsburg Hotel of Horror, The Pocono Mountains Premier Haunted House Attraction

The Hotel of Horror, The Pocono Mountains Premier Haunted House Attraction

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

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