Melvin Drug Store

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Springfield Journal Register, date of paper which originally published the following is unknown.

(Photograph courtesy of Norman M. Broadwell)
A rare old picture is this one of the northwest corner of 5th and Washington, showing the establishment of S. H. Melvin, wholesale and retail druggist, in 1865, nearly eighty years ago. The sign bears the old term "Apothecary." for good measure! As a matter of history, the first city directory of Springfield (1855) locates the grocery store of Clarkson Freeman & Co. on this corner, with J. D. Harper, an oculist, quartered upstairs. Mr. Freeman removed to Texas in 1858 and the directory of that year shows J. B. Fosselman operating a drug store on this site. The probability is that Mr. Fosselman erected this building, which was quite substantial for those days. A year later he sold out to S. H. Melvin, and it is said that Abraham Lincoln often dropped into the store to play checkers with Mr. Melvin at leisure times. About the year 1868, Mr. Melvin took in H. H. Glidden as a partner. The 1874 directory shows H. H. Glidden & Co. on this corner; 1875, H. H. Glidden; 1879, C. & J. Correll; 1884-1885, Isaac R. Diller; 1886-1887, Fleury & Co., and 1889, Stuart Broadwell, who adopted the name "Old Corner Drug Store." Mr. Broadwell passed to his reward in 1928, since which time the store has been operated by his son, Norman M. Broadwell. This record reveals an uninterrupted occupancy of the corner as a drug store for 86 years. There have been several remodelings on down to the present beautiful Broadwell Building of today. But this picture is a real "classic" for your colelction. Note the square-topped multipaned windows so characteristic of the Sixties, the garish advertisements of the "stock in trade" - such items as tapioca, herbs, mace, cloves, ginger, mustard, cassia, soda, cream tartar, sulphur, salts, roots, barks, perfumes, gum, soaps, combs, colognes, extracts and pomades! A typical group of the citizenry poses in front. A tobacconist had the store room just beyond and farther north in Hoffman's Row there was a bakery. At left, the Enterprise Buildings adjoined - in all probability the ones still standing on this site. They were still using "apron walks" at street corners in 1865 and the picture shows in the foreground some of the mud streets for which the Illinois capital was then noted. But the flag of the Union was proudly displayed atop the building, for the Civil War had just ended and patriotic sentiment was still running high. This picture should have a special place in your scrapbook of Old Springfield.

Submitted by: Jeanie Lowe.