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January 7, 2009 > History: Pharmacies

History: Pharmacies

Our early business directories do not list druggists, pharmacists or drug stores. The 1904 section of the History of Washington Township notes that at Centerville, Dr. Robert Hall kept a few drugs for sale in the early 1860's. Then a Frenchman went into the drug business followed by Titus and A. Lernhart. The same source lists six druggists who had served Irvington.

The 1879 directory for Washington Corners features ads by W. H. Mack for Patent Medicines and Enoch Conert, a Druggist and Apothecary, who also sells "Perfumery and Toilet Articles." D. L. Fonseca is listed as a physician and druggist at Centerville. By the 1890's, ads became more common and there was even a reference to "the old drug store" at Centerville.

One of the prominent drug stores in Centerville was owned and operated by August Lernhart, successor to I. S. Titus & Co. His Centerville Drug Store was advertised in 1886 as "A First Class Pharmacy with pure drugs and chemicals, fresh medicines, a full line of Patent Medicines and carefully compounded prescriptions." Lernhart was described as an expert chemist, pharmacist and druggist.

Another famous Centerville store was Walton's Pharmacy owned and operated by Allan Walton for many years. His store in Center Square became Wishart's Rexall Drug Store operated by W. M. Lloyd and Wishart Walton. L. Sharman was proprietor of Sharman's Pharmacy. In 1931 he was selling Pabst Stomach Tonic to treat dyspepsis, gastritis, constipation, etc.

Sidney J. Salzman scrounged recycled lumber and built a pharmacy and soda fountain in the Center Theater building in 1946. He moved across the street in 1953 where he operated until 1959.

Walter Haller opened Haller's Pharmacy in 1957. He sold the store to Donn Lipman who ran it for 19 years and then sold to Gary Basrai. The store moved from Central north on Fremont Boulevard to the corner of Peralta Avenue in 2001. Sterling Getty came in 1965 and was a pharmacist at Haller's for 40 years.

One of the pioneer Irvington druggists was H. D. Ford. He advertised as a dealer in "Pure Drugs and Medicines and Chemicals with Physicians' Prescriptions Carefully Compounded." Lincoln Fitzell was proprietor of the Irvington Pharmacy in 1901 and used "Only Pure and Reliable Drugs." C. A. Lutz, M.D. was the proprietor by 1909.

Raymond Pond established Pond's Pharmacy in 1921 and sold it to his son Wally in 1950. Wally operated the store for many years and even expanded into Mission Ranch and Sundale shopping centers.

J. P. Chamberlin operated a general store in Mission San Jose and advertised in 1875 as a dealer in a variety of things including drugs. Grey Vernon operated his Mission Pharmacy for 32 years. He also had one at Irvington and at one time operated three pharmacies.

Niles had several drug stores in the 1890's. Dr. L. H. Cutler, one of these pioneer pharmacists, opened in 1891 and had to sell his store in 1894 because of failing health. J. K. Mehrtens operated his Fernbrook Pharmacy "next door to Billy Moore's Cafˇ." The most famous was Sneden's Pharmacy operated by M. B. Sneden. The store was in "Ford's New Building" in 1897 where Sneden advertised "Dr Smith's Honest John Triess." In 1908 Sneden advertised "No Commission Paid to Doctors," and in 1914 he featured Ablerika known to cure appendicitis, gas and sour stomach.

Greenwood's Pharmacy was established in the new Cavanaugh building in 1924. It was advertised as the Rexall Store in 1931 and was later succeeded by Walton's Pharmacy, "the store of personal service." Lister Whittaker took over Waltons and operated Whitaker Pharmacy for many years. D. R. Rees was the druggist and pharmacist at Niles New Drug Store where prices ranged from 89 cents to $2.50.

Pharmacies expanded to meet the needs of the increasing population and the growth of the three cities. Retail druggists listed for Fremont by 1956 included Crown Drug Store, Mission Pharmacy, Pond's Pharmacy, Niles Drug Company, Sid's Pharmacy, Wishart's Rexall Drug and Whitaker Drugs, Cabrillo Rexall Drug Store, Haller's Pharmacy and Fremont Center Drug Store. There were 14 druggists listed for Fremont by 1963.

Many of the pioneer drug stores and pharmacists are gone, but they have been succeeded by a variety of service centers with "modern drugs."

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