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
Montgomery History Speakers Bureau Newest Addition: Reed Brothers Dodge History
I am very excited to announce that I have officially been added to the Montgomery History Speakers Bureau. My topic is, of course, “The History of Reed Brothers Dodge“. The PowerPoint presentation is approximately 40 minutes in length and highlights the dealerships historic timeline, which showcases how Reed Brothers Dodge came into being, and how the company overcame the inevitable changes and challenges throughout almost a century of being in business. More than 100 photographs are featured, 70 of them rare, historic images taken by the dealership’s founder, Lewis Reed.
Montgomery History can provide dozens of speakers on a wide variety of subjects connected with Montgomery County’s rich and long history. To schedule a speaker, please use this Contact page. Get to know the speakers by reading more about their backgrounds here.
About the Speaker’s Bureau:
This service is for business and professional groups, neighborhood associations, senior centers and residences, clubs, schools, religious institutions, civic groups, historical societies and museums, and other organized groups throughout Montgomery County and the greater Washington D.C. metro area.
Presentations are offered in the forms of lectures, slide shows (traditional and PowerPoint), music, portrayals and re-enactments in local history, and in the national history that is part of our local story.
The speakers and re-enactors are community historians and professionals trained in local history and public speaking; many have written books and articles on their chosen subjects. As part of the presentation, book signings and sales can be arranged, as can follow-up tours and visits to the sites discussed. Presentations can range from 30 to 60 minutes in length, and generally can be adapted to an organization’s specific needs.
Business longevity is something to celebrate and share. It is my great honor to join the talented league of speakers at Montgomery History, and I sincerely look forward to sharing our 97-year family business history.
Meet Grafton Reed
Lewis Reed’s Rockville Garage started Sales and Service operations in 1915 with a handful of key employees. The original Rockville Garage, located at the intersection of Veirs Mill Road and Rockville Pike, had a 15-car capacity as well as a single gas pump. Grafton Reed was a brother of Lewis Reed and a part of the dealership’s first work force. Grafton started working as a mechanic at the dealership in ca. 1918. According to his U.S. World War I Draft Registration Card, 1917-1918, his occupation at the time was listed as Garage Manager, Rockville Garage.
Reed Brothers Original Landmark Location
The triangle-shaped property shown in the above photo was the longtime home of the Reed Brothers Dodge dealership before the site was acquired by the State of Maryland to widen the roads in 1970. At the time of Lewis Reed’s death in 1967, he was in negotiations with the State Roads Commission on the Commission’s proposal to take over a portion of his business property for construction of an interchange at Rockville Pike, Hungerford Drive and Veirs Mill Road.
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 complex on Route 355 at the Shady Grove Metro.
The state of Maryland named the connector street behind the original location, “Dodge Street,” commemorating Reed Brothers’ presence from 1914-1970.
The dealership’s location today is 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 re-dedicated as Veterans Park.
Reed Brothers Dodge a Designated “Peerless Place”
Along with St. Mary’s Church (1813), King Farm (1925), Red Brick Courthouse (1891), and the B&O Railroad Station (1873), Reed Brothers Dodge (1915) has been designated as a “Peerless Place” by Rockville’s Historic Preservation organization.
Today, the former location of Reed Brothers Dodge is occupied by the Bainbridge Shady Grove Metro Apartments, and they, like Peerless, remain committed to preserving a part of the city’s automotive heritage by paying homage to a century of history at the new residential complex.
Peerless Rockville Historic Preservation, Ltd. is an award-winning nonprofit, community-based organization founded in 1974 to preserve buildings, objects, and information important to Rockville’s heritage. Peerless Rockville advances its goals through education, example, advocacy, and community involvement.
Peerless Places have become Rockville’s special places. They provide us all with a flavor and scale that is at once historic, personal, comforting, and viable.