Peabody Singing Tower

 NORTH MANCHESTER HISTORICAL SOCIETY
 North Manchester, Indiana

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News-Journal, February 22, 1965

STRAWS IN THE WIND By Harry Leffel

The two rooms east of the corner building from Main north along Walnut Street built by J.J. Tyler and John W. Ulrey, after the American House fire in 1883, were rebuilt shortly after the fire, and both rooms were built at the same time. The first room is now occupied by the Marks Drug Store, and the next room, for many years the Urschel Department Store, is now the west room of the Hirsch store. The east part of the Hirsch store was occupied in 1915 by Daniel Sheller with his grocery and bakery. The next room east, now vacant and formerly occupied by the J. Norman Car Parts, has had a history of many tenants, and the old timers do not recall who was in the room in 1915. Next east, the room now vacant, was the David Derf restaurant in 1915, and the room along the alley is owned and occupied by Wayne Luckenbill with his Manchester Floor Covering business. In 1915, Wonderley & Reiff had moved into the building with their meat market, after it has been vacated by J.M. Jennings and son, Will, when they built their new grocery building at Market and Main.

The present Marks building has been used as a drug store, probably since it was built after the fire. Andrew Miller had the drug store first; then Dr. David Ginther, who had his doctor's office in the rear. In later years Dr. Ginther had his office on the west side of Walnut Street, where the Smith Barber shop now is located. Ginther was followed in 1898 by Perry & Rudig. Ira Perry later went to Rush Medical School at Chicago and practiced medicine in later years, first at Bippus and then in North Manchester. They sold to Fred Bechtold and his successor was Charles T. Gribben, who was operating the store in 1915. Gribben sold in June, 1915, to A.F. Sala, who had been at Winchester, and who returned to operate the drug store. Sala bought the building of Dr. Ginther in October, 1921. Mr. Sala died in February, 1919, and in April the store was sold to Harry J. Martin of Peru. Martin sold soon after to Edgar Johnson. October 20, 1925, Mr. Martin sold the store to J.B. Marks, who moved here from Peru. Associated with him from the start was his son, Harold Marks, who took over the business after his father died; and who had with him in the store, his son, Harold Marks, Jr. Recently Harold, Jr., bought the store, his father retiring.

L.P. Urschel had taught school in Chester Township, served as Wabash County's representative in the state legislature, and was a member of the hospital board that built the present Wabash County hospital. He also served, by appointment, as a trustee of the Boy's School at Plainfield, and had a keen interest in the operation of the institution, especially in efforts to make good citizens out of wayward boys.


Source: CFH Files

MEMORIES OF THE OLD DRUG STORE
By Louise E. Marks

 David and Laura Ginther sold the stock and store building at 204 E. Main Street to Albert F. Sala on December 8, 1921. When Mr. Sala passed away, Clare W. Sala became owner. She sold to J.B. Marks in 1925 and the building on June 15, 1936. James B. and Harold L. Marks, Sr. opened the Sala Drug Store for business under the name J.B. Marks & Son Rexall Drug Store on October 20, 1925. Harold’s pharmacist registration number was 7369. J.B. passed away in 1938 and his wife, Lillian A. Marks became building owner. She died in 1964 and that’s when my husband, Harold L. Marks, Sr. and I became owners.

I remember (1925) that as you opened the front double screen doors and the large double wood doors just inside, there was a soda fountain on the right or east wall, and a large showcase full of cigars in boxes and tobacco in tins. A variety of tins in one pound or small cans were there on display. The cigar case was usually very busy. It never failed that every now and then someone would call us on the telephone and ask, “Do you have Prince Albert in a can?” When we’d answer “yes”, they would say, “Well, let him out!” and then laugh and hang up the phone.

The counter space from the cigar case helped us to serve the public. There was no self-service; the clerk had to find a customer’s wants and bring them to the counter, sometimes one article at a time, as they decided what to purchase. A roll of wrapping paper, mounted on the counter, and a ball of twine, overhead, was provided to wrap the articles together. Small sacks were also used.

Next to the fountain on the east wall were cases with glass sliding doors. They ran all the way to the back of the room. In these cases we kept an array of cosmetics. Evening-in-Paris was very popular. Other perfumes were Gardenia, Ben Hur, Cashmere Bouquet Talc, Mavis Talc, Hess Hand Lotion, Glycerine and Rose Water, and Vasoline for the hands. Rose soap as well as many other soaps were sold. Shaving soap, lather brushes, razor blades, and razor straps were kept in the last case.

Spaced in the middle of the room were round tables and chairs, the ice cream parlor type, with metal frames. The stools at the soda fountain counter matched.

Wallpaper was sold behind the fountain tables and chairs. Samples were kept for customers to look at, but the supplies and trimmer were stored upstairs. Sometimes we’d go up and down the stairs many times, bringing down rolls to show the customer the different patterns before a selection was made. The wallpaper didn’t come in precut rolls like it does today, so once the selection was made, we would go back upstairs to use the trimmer to cut the rolls. The price – was an astonishing 5 cents a single roll and 10 cents a double roll!

On the west wall there were shelves all the way to the back of the room, to display the drug merchandise. A drawer case at the back of the west wall held packaged pills with each drawer numbered and a book hanging on the side for easy reference information. Hinkle Pills, Nature’s Remedy, Carter’s Little Liver Pills, and Dewitt’s Kidney Pills were just a few of the many varieties displayed.

We sold school books during the Depression. But J.B. Marks said he just couldn’t take the last dollar from the parents to buy books, so he turned the book business entirely over to Burdge’s Drug Store, since they sold them too. Burdge’s Drug Store, stocked with beautiful dishes and crystal-ware in their west building, along with the J.B. Williams Drug Store, were both in business in 1925.

The back of the store was occupied by Gresso’s Store. But at the back of our part of the store, was a prescription department. It was private and allowed admittance only to the pharmacist. Under the prescription case, all sizes of bottles and corks were kept to compound prescriptions. The doctors wrote each prescription in formula and in Latin. They carried drugs with them to visit the ill patients at their homes. But the druggist had to keep supplies for mixing special drugs. Apothecary weight, a system of weights used by Pharmacists in filling prescriptions, was used to measure out the exact amounts called for by the doctor’s prescription.

The drugs for prescription use were kept on shelves behind the counter for the pharmacist’s convenience. Capsules were compounded by measuring the powders, mixing them in the mortar and pestle, and then placing them on a pill tile to fill each capsule according to the prescription. Each was weighed and placed in a cardboard box. Liquids were mixed in measuring vials and stirred with glass rods and then poured into bottles with corks securing their contents.

Some of the supplies kept were quinine sulfate, elixir of barbital, elixir of pepsin, elixir of phenobarbitol, extracts of digitalis, narcotics, and many more. Caster oil came bottled and mineral oil came in a large drum and had to be measured into quarts and pints. Vanilla, lemon, almond, and spearmint extracts were also bottled by the pharmacist. Also red and green fruit coloring. The veterinary supplies were liniments, Bag Balm, and other such merchandise.

I must tell you that my husband, Harold L. Marks, Sr., was very accurate in compounding his prescriptions and made a great success of it.

Spices were sold by the store clerks and had to be weighed on separate scales and were then placed in small sacks. Pickle harvest was always a busy time. A large quantity of alum and other spices were always needed. Other popular spices were clove, allspice, cinnamon in both powder and bark, also celery seed, dill seed, mustard, black pepper to grind, ginger, whole nutmeg, sage, and others. You see, grocery stores did not carry spices at that time.

The office was on the balcony at the back of the main room. James B. Marks was the manager and bookkeeper and from there could watch the store progress while working on his books.

On the west wall shelves, we placed the patent drugs. Some of the varieties were: Jane’s Vermifuge, Konjola, Lydia Pinkham, Father John’s Cough Syrup, Chamberlain’s Cough Remedy, Castoria, Vicks, and Mentholatum Salve. Epson salts and boric acid powder were sold in round cardboard boxes. And many others lined the shelves. Tin cans, cardboard boxes, and glass bottles with corks were the most common types of packaging in those days.

The only heat for the store was provided by one floor register located in the middle of the front room. I can tell you it was a lot of hard work looking after the furnace. At 6:00 a.m. we’d go in to shake the grates for the ashes. The furnace was filled with coal, morning and evening. Of course the furnace at home had already been looked at earlier. Ashes from the furnace had to be carried out frequently. Coal was delivered in the summertime. The coal truck driver backed up to the sidewalk, lifted the iron grate in the sidewalk, and shoveled the coal into the basement.

We had two telephones in the store. One of the phone companies was called the Eel River and the other was the Rex Phone Company. We had to ask the operator to be sure which bell it was. The operator furnished all kinds of information since she could listen and keep well informed.

We had electric lights but no refrigeration. If a storm bothered the light poles to Wabash, the lights went out. We kept kerosene lamps ready at all times. Since we had no refrigeration for the ice cream, the ice man came every day. It’s funny to me now, the ice man always left a track to the back room, so we always had a mop handy.

The ice cream was delivered in round metal containers and we’d place them in a tub, sometimes as many as three containers, with chipped ice and salt all around to help keep it from melting. Then we covered it. The huge tub had a cork in the bottom on the side to drain it.

We made our own syrups. Many times I remember cooking water and sugar in a large kettle over an oil stove. It took us all day to get the syrups ready for the fountain. We mixed the chocolate and thinned the pineapple and strawberry. We also had cherry syrup – vanilla and lemon. Two large dips of ice cream were used for sodas and sundaes. We also hand packed quarts and pints to carry home. There was no hot water, so we kept a kettle on the stove to use at the fountain.

Saturday night was a busy time because everyone came to town to shop, visit, and eat ice cream. One disadvantage of our double screen doors was that the bugs always saw the lights. And the old brick pavement went us dust every time the wind would blow.

The awning on the front of the building was a real problem. When the sun shone, we rolled it down. If it was cloudy or stormy, we’d roll it up. And each night we’d roll it up. Some days your arm got really tired just looking after the awning!

We worked twelve hours a day and were on call each night. Our store clerks had shorter hours. I’m proud to say that, while in high school, eight students worked at our drug store, who went on to receive their apprenticeship to enter pharmacy school. Those individuals were:  George Russell Gilbert; Galen Landis; Verling Landis; Charles Hay; Earl Cripe, Pharmacist, M.D.; Susan Abell; Harold Marks, Jr. and daughter, Lizabeth Marks, my granddaughter.

Mr. Marks and I were very proud of each one, but he didn’t get to see his granddaughter graduate.

We worked together to help the public and serve our customers, day and night, keeping a clean store and making the memories that I cherish today. I hope you too have some fond memories of our drug store and the sixty years the Marks family was in business.

--Written by Louise E. Marks