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Wagstaff & Jenkins Drugs and Medicine
Pharmacy Moments in Niles, Ohio
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
Wagstaff’s at corner of Park and State
Ward’s at 11 South Main
H.T. Calvin’s at corner of Park and Main
Park’s 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:
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
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
Calvin's Drug Store at 2 North State Street.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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
Morabito's home and Ward's Costume Shop
Mellilo's Home and Barber Shop
Former Avenue Pharmacy, 519 Robbins.
Mr. F.P. Piper
Interior of Piper's Drug Store
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
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
Daily Times June 5, 1940 article about the officers and leaders
of the 'Class of 1940' with a photograph of Keith Piper.