Seems like there was a drugstore in every neighborhood and one or two within easy walking distance of home.
Let me introduce you to Edwin John Sanders, one of those kindly people that everyone should have had the privilege to know. Edwin was born March 14, 1882 in Hastings, Adams County, Nebraska, USA, the son of Adeline Tessier and Herman Sanders. In 1901 he graduated from the Iowa Pharmacy School, Highland Park College inDes Moines, then the Chicago College of Pharmacy at the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1904.
He became the proprietor of a classic neighborhood corner drugstore and soda fountain in Chicago. It was once Bunt pharmacy. (Ed had married Marion Paul Bunt after her husband Frank Bunt died). Sanders Pharmacy was located at 2500 West Pratt Avenue on the northwest corner of Campbell and Pratt (6800 north). It was just across the street from a Lutheran Church and grammar school.
Sanders Drugs was a wonderful example of the iconic American drugstore and soda fountain. The woodwork and cabinetry in the original was amazing, especially the two built in phone booths on either side of the back wall. It was where Mr. Sanders knew all his customers and treated them well.
Here you could buy a cigar, a candy bar, sundries, baseball cards with bubble gum, those five cent lifesavers, comic books, magazines, a kite or yo-yo or just the Sunday newspaper.
And at the old fashioned soda fountain you could sit a spell and enjoy a Sundae in a tulip glass, a cold Dad’s root beer, a chocolate phosphate. A nickel or a dime could buy a cherry Coke, or a Green River.
. Even though the old-fashioned soda fountain began to decline in popularity after Prohibition, the drug store fountain kept the tradition alive. Many of us older folk affectionately recall the time they spent at a drug store fountain. Some might even had brought their first date there for a milkshake come Saturday night. Shared it with two straws. Sweet memories indeed.
And Mr. Sanders would cheerfully fill a prescription for you, even while you wait. Feel free to ask his advice on most anything. Sanders Drug store closed in the 1960’s with Edwin’s retirement. Here is a picture of the building after the drug store had closed.
Edwin J Sanders died Aug 17, 1969 at age 87 and is buried in All Saints Catholic Cemetery and Mausoleum in Des Plaines, Illinois.
He had wonderful sons, at least 10 grandchildren, and at least 6 great grandchildren.
With him, we lost one more wonderful corner drugstore. The American drugstore began around the Civil War era when the scientific method came into vogue and many new drugs were discovered . It became the symbol of Main Street USA during the late 1880’s but has slowly been replaced by the chain stores like CVS and Walgreens.
A personal postscript:
Sanders Drug store was just across from my Bethesda Ev. Lutheran Church and grammar school. On my lunch hour, I would deliver prescriptions for him, my very first “job” of sorts.
I thought the world of Mr. Sanders. And to honor and remember him, I constructed a miniature version of his store. It is built from my childhood memory although the soda fountain had been moved into to a connected storefront next door. In my miniature version, I have shown the soda fountain in it’s original position along with a few fountain booths.
Thank you Mr. Sanders!
16 thoughts on “Celebrating the Corner Drug Store”
Thank you SOOOO much for this wonderful remembrance of Sanders Drugstore. I was a young neighborhood kid back then and remember this establishment so fondly, especially Mr. Sanders, with his shock of white hair and friendly demeanor. So many happy times at the soda fountain, getting cherry cokes, chocolate phosphates and Green Rivers. My friends and I would gather there on Saturdays after playing ball in the Bethesda schoolyard across the street. I also remember picking up prescriptions for my Mom and how Mr. Sanders was very personable about our family. He sold the store to a Mr. Rumke, I believe, who had a similar demeanor to Mr. Sanders, and continued the corner drugstore milieu till I went off to college and sadly found that it had been closed upon my return. It was the passing of an era I dearly miss.
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Wow! what a great comment. Thank you Hank!. I did not know of Mr. Rumkr as I lived a bit father south after my Bethesda days. You did nicely remember Mr. Sanders white hair, which I now recall. I a guessing you lived close by, I was on Artesian. Thanks so much for writing!!
There was a drugstore on the corner of Howard and Damen in Chicago and when I was two years old it was cold it was February my mother was in bed sick with measles and I was two years old ….nobody was watching me ….so I took a stroll two blocks to the corner drug store I believe it was a Rexall and nobody knew where I was finally my mother was there with her heavy coat on and boots and trucks down to the corner because someone called her and said I was there … There I was sitting with the policeman eating an ice cream sundae telling him my name was Shewlly dong ding (Shelley Dawn Greene) but I could not say it that way….
My father called me that to the day he died it was always such an inside joke I love that Rexall drugstore❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
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A great story!! Thanks for sharing!
We own a company here in Chicago that restores vintage soda fountains. We ship them all over for people who are setting up old time drug stores. We are American Soda Founty
Urbankski Drug store, corner of Elston and Christiana. Owned by Al Urbanski. He and his sister Harriet were the pharmacist’s. They had a soda fountain , comics, a wooden phone booth in the back. It was a classic. He would make up his own special cough medicines and back in the day would deliver meds. He knew you, your family and oftentimes, your family doctor.
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I remember it well. I used to go with my Mom there. My favourite drink was Green River. We lived on Christiana Ave at the time. Happy memories.
My father and grandparents owned Schmid Drug Store on the corner of North Avenue and Austin (6000 W. North Ave.) in Austin. It was an old-fashioned apothecary – only sold drugs which were often compounded by my grandma who was also a pharmacist! It sold limited makeup, wheelchairs and canes, and had a great display of candy, cough drops and gum! No school supplies or things like that. I loved visiting my dad there! He sold it in 1965 when they were evening out the corner.
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Great comment! Thank you!
I remember Schmid Drug Store. My mother went there every week as well as to the other stores located nearrby. I always enjoyed going along. Up until recently there was a Schmid Drug in Glen Ellyn, any connection?
not sure. i will try to find out
My father owned Schmid Drugs
I lived around the corner from Sanders Drug store, and spent a lot of time looking through comics and buying penny candy..My older brother was a soda jerk there, before they moved the soda counter to the expanded site next door..You don’t see drug store right in the middle of neighborhood anymore. We were really lucky kids. Bethesda was my church too!
MY Little brother (and much younger) still lives in my old house around the corner!
I love this story and your beautiful memories. Does anyone know of an independent pharmacy (drug store) still in existence anywhere in Illinois? I would love to find one.
I remember it well especially Mr. Sanders and my girlfriends Mom, Thelma Sanders whom ran the soda fountain! Before the soda fountain moved next door there was a Mom and Pop. Type grocery run by a foreign family! We called it the “ little old ladies “ as she waited on us when we needed bread or milk etc. I lived at 2457 West Morse from 1939 until 1958. I was married in 1955 and in 1958 my husband, Bill, myself and our two children moved to Deerfield! Marjorie Olson Johnson. Many fond memories remain!
Lulunski Drug store on 48th and
Wood St on soutside was wonderful.
There was a doctors office attached
to it. Dr Dolores Lulinski
Great care given to all and treated
the Nuns of St Joseph for free
No one does that anymore.