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Matagorda Pharmacy


Matagorda Pharmacy was organized by Dr. P. E. Parker, Dr. J. E. Simons, Dr. S. A. Foote, Hugh Phillips, and P. A. McLendon for the purpose of erecting a drug store with offices.


On January 19, 1898, David Swickheimer sold a lot at 2145 Avenue G to Henry Rugeley. C. I. Neese acquired this same piece of land, and Neese and his wife, Lizzie, built the Rice Saloon.


On August 30, 1902, Neese sold the two-story frame saloon and fixtures to A. H. Atter. On July 5, 1905, Dr. J. E. Simons bought the property. The other partners joined the business on January 24, 1906. The old Rice Saloon was demolished, and in its place, a two-story building was constructed of concrete blocks, which were made in Bay City. The contractors were J. W. White and O. E. Hatchet.


The other partners sold their stock to Dr. P. E. Parker and Dr. J. E. Simons, who later sold the drugstore to Grover and Layton Moore. Dr. Parker died October 16, 1914, in a tragic hunting accident.


The Moore brothers ran Matagorda Pharmacy for five years until 1911. Paris Smith purchased the pharmacy in 1912. D. P. Moore bought it from him; then Smith re-purchased the pharmacy. The property remained in the possession of Parker and Simons.


In 1918 an influenza epidemic hit Bay City. When Paris Smith contracted influenza, his wife and Frank Carr operated the drugstore for ten days while he was ill. When a customer with influenza entered the store, he was handed a bottle of aspirin, as no prescriptions could be filled. When Smith finally returned to work, he, alone, filled 225 prescriptions, while his wife typed the directions.


Many drugstores such as this one had fountains during the sugar strike. Smith discontinued the fountain when he had to make his own sugar from glucose and white syrup.


In 1922 Smith hired Mrs. Joe Bruno, the daughter of Bay City's first postmaster, for his secretary and bookkeeper. As a result of this job, she became Bay City's first drugstore assistant manager. She worked for Smith for 40 years.


In 1945 Smith hired two registered pharmacists, N. H. Cook and J. Zrubec. These three men filled 35 to 40 prescriptions a day. Zrubec was a pharmacist for 54 years, and he had to learn English after coming to America from Austria in 1901.


Paris Smith sold the pharmacy to W. Q. Keen in 1962. Keen remodeled the interior, lowered the ceiling, and modernized the drugstore. The business continued to carry cosmetics, patented medicines, boxed candies, gifts, prescriptions, and sundries.


Pat and Peggy Boepple, the present owners, purchased the property in 1971. They cleaned the pharmacy, removed the "Drugs" sign that had hung for years, and sandblasted the brick made so long ago in Bay City. Much of the same furnishings remaining the building, but this old drugstore is now modern and up-to-date.


The Daily Tribune, January 21, 1977




2145 Avenue G

Dr. Philip Earl Parker (second from left)


Copyright 2008 - Present by Carol Sue Gibbs
All rights reserved

Jan. 25, 2008
Jan. 25, 2008