Artist’s Rendering of New Formalist-Influenced Reed Brothers Dodge Dealership
After 55 years at the original location at the triangle at Veirs Mill Road and Rockville Pike, Lee Gartner purchased 4.37 acres of land from Eugene Casey and relocated Reed Brothers Dodge to a new state-of-the-art showroom and Dodge/Chrysler/Jeep service complex on Route 355 at 15955 Frederick Road in Rockville Maryland.
The new building, a complete automotive sales and service facility marked Reed Brothers 55th year of selling Dodge’s. The state-of-the-art dealership contained the newest customer-focused features throughout which combined technology and comfort. Design and construction of the new dealership was managed by the Glen Construction Company of Gaithersburg.
In 1948, General Motors produced their first guide to help shape the look of their auto dealerships. Entitled, “Planning Automobile Dealer Properties“, the guide provided ideas and building layouts “for car sales, administration and personnel, service, parts and accessories, and store front details—including everything from the showroom to the janitor’s closet.” Based on the success of this model, other car brands also adopted strict design standards for their dealerships.
The Reed Brothers Dodge dealership in Rockville (1970), demolished in 2012, was an example of a dealership with a New Formalist influence. Hand-drawn architectural rendering by Cooke Brackett, Washington, D.C.
Character-defining elements of auto dealerships representative of this Period include, but are not limited to:
- One story
- Rectangular form with secondary service areas
- Flat roofs are most prevalent
- Large expansive showroom windows and minimal windows at service areas
- Extensive use of corporate branding including street signs, rooftop signs, and various brand color schemes
- Set back from, and parallel to, the adjoining major roadway
Last Sign Standing
Work continues on the Bainbridge Shady Grove apartments, which was home to former Reed Brothers Dodge dealership. The Used Car sign, still standing on King Farm Blvd is the last remaining remnant of the dealership’s former life.
Demolition at the site was conducted May 2013 to make way for a mixed use development. When the state widened the roads in 1970, Reed Brothers Dodge relocated from its original facility at the intersection of Veirs Mill Road and Rockville Pike (now Veterans Park) to a new 26,000 square foot showroom and Dodge/Chrysler/Jeep service complex located at 15955 Frederick Road in Rockville, Maryland. Reed Brothers Dodge stood at this location for more than 40 years.
Final Chapter in Reed Brothers Dodge History
When Lewis Reed opened his car dealership in 1915, he never knew he was starting a family tradition that would be carried out for 97 years and three generations.
After almost a century of serving Rockville – and two and a half years after Chrysler terminated the Reed Brothers Dodge franchise – the dealership property went to settlement on August 30, 2012. The dealership site was sold to a developer whose future plans include constructing a $90M project to include a 6-story residential building with 417 multi-family units and a 517 space parking structure.
Lewis Reed’s legacy, however, lives on in the business ventures that his family grew and continues to grow. In Lewis Reed’s spirit of entrepreneurship, the family has formed RBI Properties, LLC, the private holding company of Reed Brothers, Inc – and the legacy continues.