Posts Tagged 'City Drug'

From the Collection: Can You Count the Moves?

by Leigh Westphal, Museum Coordinator

A few months back I wrote about a recent acquisition of prescription slips from the City Drug store. After completing the re-housing of prescription slips from the store’s cigar boxes to archival boxes, I was left with one burning question… where was this place? The answer- as is often the case- was not a simple one.

Boasted as “the oldest legitimate business in Fort Collins,” City Drug first opened in 1873. Its original owners were a pharmacist, M.E. Hocker, and two local business men, William C. Stover and John C. Mathews. City Drug’s first location was at the southwest corner of Jefferson and Linden streets in one of the oldest buildings in Fort Collins, known as “Old Grout” for the enthusiastic use of grout in its construction.

From Old Grout, City Drug went on to have numerous locations and owners. When the Yount Bank Building on the southeast corner of Jefferson and Linden was completed in 1874, City Drug quickly moved across the street and into it. In the same year, William Stover sold his interest in the business to his brother, Frank, who had just arrived in Fort Collins.  At this point, both W.C. Stover and Mathews retired from the drug store in order to pursue other business interests in town.  Eventually, Frank P. Stover bought out Hocker and became sole owner of City Drug.  During this time Stover moved the business again, this time to the northwest corner of Jefferson and Linden streets, where he rented a corner section of the Tedman House.  Soon after, the store made its way back to its original location, but this time it inhabited a brand new brick building since the log-walled Old Grout had been torn down and replaced at the commission of Frank Stover.

City Drug c. 1884, located at the Tedman House

Upon his retirement in 1919, Stover sold City Drug to C.L. Brewer. With Brewer at the helm, the drug store moved three more times in an attempt to be a central part of the city. In its first year of Brewer’s ownership, City Drug relocated to 143 Linden Street. Seven years later, it moved to 145 N. College Avenue and again to the “Woolworth Building” at the northwest corner of College and Mountain avenues.

City Drug c. 1906, southwest corner of Linden and Jefferson streets

In 1946, Brewer sold City Drug to brothers Arthur and Harold Grovert. The Groverts also relocated the business more than once. First, they moved to 139 N. College Avenue and again in 1967 to the southwest corner of College and Mountain Avenues.

City Drug c. 1969, 101 S. College Ave.

In 1992, City Drug was purchased by its current owners, the Wilkins family. The Wilkins continued to run the drug store at the southwest corner of College and Mountain until September of 2009, when the business made its final move to 209 N. College Avenue, formerly know as the Ghent Motors Building.

Current location of City Drug just north of LaPorte Ave.

Whew, moving makes me tired… even if it is just reading about it!

Found in the Collection: Prescriptions…for Cigars?!

by Leigh Westphal, Museum Coordinator

The Fort Collins Museum & Discovery Science Center recently acquired a lovely collection of cigar boxes from, what might seem today, a very unlikely source.  The boxes were found in the basement of the former City Drug building at the southwest corner of College and Mountain Avenues when City Drug moved to their new location. The  old builing was being prepared for renovation and they found cigar boxes. A LOT of cigar boxes.

However, this was not just a simple collection of novelty boxes (nor the trail of a cigar afficianado),  because inside each box was a stack of papers and the exterior of each box was labeled with a strip of tape with a set of numbers hand-written on it. This was the filing system for the drug store’s filled prescriptions  dating all the way back to 1919.  Genius!  In an age when computers were non-existant, someone came up with a cohesive, compact, and organized fashion of storing these documents.

One of the earlier boxes, circa 1919

So, why did City Drug keep the prescription slips in the first place and why would the museum want them now?  The slips contain private medical information about individuals within the community that would have been difficult to disposed of in a discreet manner.  Moreover, as fellow collections staff member Ashley Houston and I cleared the dust off this collection – literally – we also uncovered trends for Fort Collins, such as population growth, the appearance of female doctors, spikes in prescriptions in relation to certain times/months/seasons  of the year, and the popularity of certain drugs during specific time periods.

Collections Assistant Ashley Houston in her "hazmat" gear getting all those numbered boxes in order

As lovely as the cigar boxes may have been, the prescription slips were removed, cleaned and rehoused in archival boxes to be stored in the museum.

August 2022

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