History of Niles' Drugstores

Click on any photograph to view a larger image.

To purchase a high-resolution print of any listed photograph on this page without the visible watermark, E-Mail Us
Use the image ID Example: PO1.1023

E-Mail Us Phone: 330.544.2143

Mail: PO Box 368 Niles, Ohio 44446

Home Page

Buildings Tour

Historical Photographs

Historical Stories

White House Gowns

Books for Sale


Calendar of Events

Newsletter Archives


Arrange a Tour

Maps and Directions

Contact the Curator

E-Mail Us

Individual Membership: $20.00
Family Membership: $30.00
Patron Membership: $50.00
Business Membership: $100.00
Lifetime Membership: $500.00
Corporate Membership:
Call 330.544.2143

Do you love the history of Niles, Ohio and want to preserve that history and memories of events for future generations?

Click here to donate:

As a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, your donation is tax deductible. When you click on the Donate Button, you will be taken to a secure Website where your donation will entered and a receipt generated.


Wagstaff & Jenkins Drugs and Medicine
Wagstaff & Jenkins Drugs and Medicine. PO1.224

History of Niles' Drugstores.
Jim Tallman 2017

1924- There were 6 pharmacies in Niles:

Frank P. Piper’s at 20 South Main (Piper story at end of webpage)

E.C. Ferguson’s
at 5 East State Street

at corner of Park and State

at 11 South Main

H.T. Calvin’s
at corner of Park and Main

at 533 Robbins Avenue
The latter 2 both owned by H.T. Calvin

By the 1930’s only 3 remained that were viable for the future and only one still remains.

Let’s take a look at those 3 drugstores.

L: Ferguson & Kennedy Drug Store in the 1890's. It later became McDowell's, who was a son-in-law of Mr. Ferguson. PO1.2046

R: Seating booths for the soda fountain in Ferguson & Kennedy's Drug Store. Located on the "doughnut" where the safety service complex is now located. The Victrola in the center was also sold in the store. Donated by Mrs. James Youll who was a phamacist for Mr. McDowell when Mr. Ferguson became the mayor of Niles.

Vaughn's Pharmacy
Vaughn's Pharmacy. PO1.864

Ward’s Pharmacy existed before 1908 and future entities moved several times- from 11 South Main Street to 13 then 15 and finally-41 South Main Street. It was known as Reznor’s Drugs at least by 1927.

Then in 1953, Ray Vaughn bought it from Jake Small, and it was re-named Vaughn’s Pharmacy. In October 1971, it was purchased by Ron Theis, and named Theis Pharmacy.

A new building was constructed at 41 South Main in October 1976 (current location of Stoneyard). In October 1985, this pharmacy was bought by Gary Kuszmaul, who named it Kuszmaul’s Pharmacy and it was permanently closed in November 2006.

Vaughn's Pharmacy
Calvin's Drug Store at 2 North State Street. PO1.221

Calvin’s at 2 North Main began in 1914 by Harry T. Calvin. From 1934 til 1961, it was owned by James Jewell. Sam Woodcock bought it in 1951 and owned it until 1958, when it was purchased by Rudy Prinz.

In 1979, it was moved to a new building across the street to 1 North Main. Prinz sold it in 1983 to Jeff Scheumann and Glenn Fernandez from Cleveland. Calvin’s remained with the same name throughout the years. It was permanently closed in August 1986.

Calvin's Drug Store at 1 North Main Street.
Calvin's Drug Store at 1 North Main Street.

533 Robbins Avenue.
533 Robbins Avenue.

1926-April- Park’s Pharmacy was purchased from H.T. Calvin by brothers Frank and Robert Fowler who brought in Paul Elder one year later. This pharmacy was located at 533 Robbins Avenue.

The former Park’s Pharmacy building at 533 Robbins would become in succession The Robbins Avenue Meat Market- Robbins Avenue Super Market-Morabito’s Market in 1949, then Ward’s Costume Shop.

The top brick front of 533 Robbins fell apart during a windstorm, March 2019, and revealed the old Fowler Drugs sign on the wood beneath the bricks.

Interior Fowler & Elder Drug Company, 1931.
Interior Fowler & Elder Drug Company, 1931.

1929-May- The Fowlers built a new brick building at 501 Robbins Avenue-corner of Robbins and Cedar, finding they needed more space. On the second floor were 3 doctors and in the basement a barber shop. The first floor was occupied—half by Fowler and Elder’s Drug Store and half by Tom Anderson’s Deluxe Market. Pictured are Paul Elder and Pete DeChristopher who worked at the pharmacy until 1974.

The basement barber shop, called Modern Sanitary Barber Shop (hair thinned for 40 cents) was owned by Phillip Melillo. He later moved to his home next door and it was eventually taken over by his son, Frank, then by Frank’s nephew (Phillip’s grandson) Michael.

The 3 doctors with offices upstairs were S.W. Boesel, Swaney, and Knox. Dr. Boesel would be there through the 1940’s eventually becoming Niles' Health Commissioner. Dr. Boesel's office space would later be occupied by Thomas Ingledue, Architect.

Cartoon from Elder&Hey drug store

In 1929, Fowler and Elder placed ads selling among other things-a box of 1lb Mary Lincoln Candy for 70 cents, pack of cigarettes 15 cents or 2 for a quarter, or $1.15 a carton, a “beautiful“ golf set for $9.19 (with 3 free balls), and free balloons for the kiddies.

At the market next door, you could buy eggs for 20 cents a dozen or beans 4 cans for a dollar or bread-2 loaves for 15 cents or oranges 25 cents for 3 dozen-the good old days ?

Remember—this was 5 months before the stock market crash—the depression was coming!

Woodcock's Drug Store at Robbins and Cedar.

The Fowler name was continued for a while, then became Woodcock’s Drug Store. In February 1951, Sam Woodcock also acquired Calvin’s Drug Store.

In April, 1955, Willis Troutman, coming from Tarentum, Pennsylvania, bought the Woodcock store on Robbins Avenue, soon renaming it Troutman’s Drug Store, and
incorporated the business in 1967, as The Troutman Drug Company.

In July, 1972, Willis sold the store to his son, Barry Troutman, and James Tallman who would also start up The Medicine Man Pharmacy located at 1150 Niles-Cortland Road in Dr. Carl Gillette’s new building. It stayed in operation from 1978 until 1997.

In February, 1983, Barry Troutman died, and James and Dawn Tallman became sole owners, keeping the name-The Troutman Drug Company. It remained under the same ownership until November, 2017, when it was purchased by Joseph N. Gioiello, and is currently the only independent pharmacy in Niles, and one of a handful in Trumbull County.

The Eastern half of the first floor , occupied by Tom Anderson changed hands in January 1948, being sold to Barney and Gilbert Macali and being renamed Macali’s Deluxe Market. Macali’s would move in 1957 to 353 Robbins Avenue (now Family Dollar) then to their present location at 48 Vienna Avenue (former A & P) in May 1979.

Troutman Drug Store, 501 Robbins Avenue.
Troutman Drug Store, 501 Robbins Avenue.

The building at the corner of Robbins and Cedar was built on the site if the former W.R. Gilbert home, a historic landmark. It was of steel construction and used Niles fire bricks and built by the Arthur B. Neidlinger Construction Company. It was begun in 1928 and finished in 1929 just months before the “New” Niles Bank Building went up (called the first “mini” skyscraper in Niles.)

The linoleum was laid by The Gilmour Company in Warren, and the carpet was added later—first red then gray/brown, and presently blue/gray. The ceiling has been lowered twice from the original tin ceiling which can be observed in the rear of the store.

After Macali’s left in 1957, the store was expanded -taking out the middle partition and soda fountain, keeping the 2 front doors and 2 rear doors and covering the entire front in glass. Re-modeling has occurred many times resulting in wood paneling outside and inside.

The glass front was replaced with paneling because of an incident that occurred in the 1970’s when a car backed into the plate glass window. At the time the sidewalk extended from the building to Robbins Avenue, and people often pulled up on the cement (not much curb) to enter the store. The tree planters were added to prevent this from happening again.

Montgomery's Drug Store at 32 South Main.
Montgomery's Drug Store at 32 South Main. SO11.301

In February, 1956 Carmen Pappada bought Montgomery Pharmacy at 32 South Main Street. Both Nader's and Montgomery's were torn down in 1962 to provide space for the new McKinley Home Federal Savings & Loan drive-thru. The access was from Franklin Avenue to South Main Street.

Then in March 1960, he also opened Pappada Pharmacy with his brother, Nick. This was located at 519 Robbins in the building now housing a gun shop. The name was changed later to Avenue Pharmacy. It was closed in June 1968.

Theis Pharmacy, 1971
Theis Pharmacy, 1971

Theis Pharmacy replaced Vaughn's Pharmacy at 15 South Main Street.

Later, the Theis Pharmacy would move to 41 South Main Street adjacent to the Spot Restaurant.

The Stoneyard is now(2019) located where Theis Pharmacy had been and the Spot Restaurant building is the Farmers Bank main offices.

Theis Pharmacy, 1985
Theis Pharmacy, 1985

Morabito's home and Ward's Costume Shop
Morabito's home and Ward's Costume Shop
Mellilo's Home and Barber Shop
Mellilo's Home and Barber Shop
Former Avenue Pharmacy, 519 Robbins.
Former Avenue Pharmacy, 519 Robbins.

Mr. F.P. Piper

Mr. F.P. Piper

Interior of Piper's Drug Store

Interior of Piper's Drug Store

Piper Drugstore

While going through the old newspapers the Niles Historical Society ran across a special edition, dated May 18, 1926. It was called "Piper's Edition" because all it contained was information on the drug store at 20 Main Street in Niles. Owner, Frank P. Piper was celebrating his 7th year in the drugstore and he proclaimed he had over 25,000 items in the 30 departments of the store.

The advertising edition states that Mr. Piper regarded Niles as his home for nearly 25 years. He was a graduate of Valparaiso University, Department of Pharmacy, and then he worked for several drug stores in the area. Then in 1919 he leased the Thomas Racket store, enlarging the store several times. He believed advertising was important to any business and had ads run in every edition of the Niles Times.

He was proud of his staff of employees and credits them in a large part with the popularity of his store. Harry Montgomery, assistant pharmacist, graduated from Ohio State University, Department of Pharmacy. Ethel Wolfburg was in charge of the greeting cards and gift items and has worked there 6 years. Bernard Lally, the red headed soda squirt has aspirations of being a pharmacist. Helen Young helps out at the soda fountain. Sam Woodcock, a local boy, worked in Piper's store for two years, but now is at Ohio Northern University trying hard to become a pharmacist. John Krasnopera is the janitor and prides himself in the clean windows.

Some of our readers may remember the soda fountain in the store. According to the article, it was the most up to date sanitary soda fountain available, electrically refrigerated with a one-half horsepower Frigidaire machine, assuring that ice cream, syrups and drinks of all kinds were at a constant temperature. Mr. Piper was the first person in Ohio to install a Deluxe Liquid Carbonic Soda Fountain in his store.

The newspaper story was interesting and so was the picture in the newspaper.
We have very few views of inside the stores that once lined the Main Street in Niles. This picture shows the soda fountain along the left side with stools for the customers.
Frank B. Piper and his wife Sarah had a daughter, Jayne who was an active member of the Niles Historical Society years ago and a son Keith, who was a football coach at Dennison University. In 1997 the football stadium was named Piper Stadium in honor of his coaching career at Dennison.

The Piper Drug Store article appeared in a Niles Historical Society 2012 newsletter and was written by Audrey John

Niles Daily Times June 5, 1940 article about the officers and leaders of the 'Class of 1940' with a photograph of Keith Piper.

  Back to top    
  Copyright©2008-2024, Niles Historical Society, All rights reserved