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Grand Rapids in 1856

Scene of early Grand Rapids viewed from the...

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Corner Drug Store

Corner Drug Store

GRHC - September 14th, 2011

Remembering the bygone days of a favorite community landmark: the corner drug store.



Today few remember the old corner drug store with its big, gilt mortar and pestle over the door. In the windows were traditional bottles of red and blue colored water and a patent medicine display extolling the virtues of Dr. Morton’s Elixer of Life.

Inside the store, ceiling fans with wooden blades stirred the air. Near the front stood the long, marble-topped soda fountain. It was here, on the spindly, wire-legged stools, that youngsters spent their carefully saved nickel for a glass of Moxie, Coca Cola, or Cherry Mellow. From a battery of pewter spigots, the druggist or soda clerk could pour almost any flavored drink called for. Those fortunate enough to have a dime could savor the latest sensation, a chocolate soda.

Fancy glass display cases containing candy, toilet articles, stationary and drug sundries lined the walls. The prescription department was in the rear of the store. A counter and glass cabinets separated the drug store proper from the mysterious back room where the druggist compounded remedies for headache, toothache, backache and other ills that plagued his customers. Cluttered with beakers, bottles of every size, scales, cork press, mortar and pestle, and drawers full of pills and powders, the “back room” was off limits to everyone except the pharmacist.

The Soda bar, ice cream chairs and tables are gone from the modern drug store as are all the quaint fixtures, victims of changing times.


Full Details

TitleCorner Drug Store
KeywordsGlance at the Past, history, drug store, WYCE, Grand Rapids, Historical Commission, radio, Podcast
Pubdate StringSeptember 14th, 2011

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