Fountain Drug Store


In an undated photo, young customers enjoy themselves at the Fountain Drug Store.

File photo | The Herald-Dispatch


In the classic Thornton Wilder play “Our Town,” it’s 1901 when teenagers
Emily Webb and George Gibbs stop at Mr. Morgan’s drug store. There,
 at the soda fountain that serves as the center of social life
 in Grover’s Corner, Emily and George realize they
 are “fond of” each other and always will be.

From the early 20th century up until the 1960s, soda
fountains, frequently found at drug stores, often
served as meeting places for
 people of all ages.

In his 1947 booklet “Early Pharmaceutical History of Huntington, West Virginia,”
long-time local pharmacist Clyde N. Roberts compiled an encyclopedic
account of Huntington’s drug stores from the city’s birth through 1928.
According to Roberts, the city’s first drug store was opened by M.H.
 Brooks in September 1871 on 2nd Avenue between 7th and 8th
streets. Consulting city directories for each year, Roberts
 found that in its early years the city was home to
 roughly two dozen drug stores. Many, if not
 most, likely had soda fountains.

Among them was the Fountain Drug Store, an establishment with a
 certainly appropriate name. According to Roberts, H.L.
 Kirkpatrick opened the Fountain Drug Store at
 319 9th St. in 1890. Later, the store changed
hands and was moved to 330 9th St.

Marshall University Special Collections has an 1899 copy
of The Parthenon, the school’s newspaper, which has an
ad for the Fountain that lists the drug store’s
 owners as M.C. Perkins and W.S. Vinson.

In 1926, the Fountain moved to 914 4th Ave. It was listed
 there again in the 1928 edition, with Jack H. Brown as
president and Thomas F. Young as secretary-
treasurer. That would be the drug store’s
final listing in the Huntington directory.


Note:  This Article and picture appeared in the Herald-Dispatch Newspaper on Nov. 21, 2023.


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