Early Pharmacy in Washington

Washington Territory’s first doctors prescribed and made their own medicines compounded from plants.  Plant leaves, roots and seeds were ground into powders and made into pills, liquids and plasters.  Widely used were belladonna for headaches and cramps, bloodroot for throat infections and foxglove (digitalis) for the heart.  Each prescription was “tailor made” and dosages often varied as well as plant combinations.

But there were early drug stores as well, such as the one run by Lot Wilbur in Snohomish who first set up at a temporary location and then settled in to a permanent place at 1201 First Street.   By the time of the first Polk’s city directory in 1893, Everett listed the Everett Drug Co., Hawley’s, Lytle & McCauley, Watkin’s Brothers and Webb’s.  Two pharmacies that would have a long life were Tozer’s (1901) and City Drug (1917).

The Eli Lilly Company, located in Indianapolis, Indiana, was one of the earliest large pharmaceutical companies, its roots going back to the Civil War.  More large companies formed in the U. S. in the early twentieth century.  Gradually chemical drugs began to be made available, under professional supervision, insuring greater consistency and safety.  At the same time, many pharmacists continued to compound their own medicines for decades.  By 1970, only about one percent of prescriptions were compounded.  Today medicinal compounding is continued mainly through traditional Asian, homeopathic and folk medicine.

Polk’s Directory listing for Everett

1893 Everett Drug Company, Hawley’s, Lytle & McCauley, Watkin’s Brothers and             Webb’s.

1901-02 Everett Drug Company, Hardy Rice, Tozer’s

1905 Everett Drug Company, Pioneer Drug, Quaker and Tozer’s

1910 Owl Drug Store added to the 1905 list

1918 City Drugs, Dean’s Pharmacy, Eagle Pharmacy, the Owl Drug Store and Quaker             Drugs

1922 City Drugs, Owl Drug Store, Lowell Drugs

1933 During the Great Depression, there were 17 pharmacies in Everett and 16 others in the county.

1947 City Drugs (with Herb Knudsen), along with 21 others.

Text Courtesy Margaret Riddle

Images Courtesy Margaret Riddle and and O’Donnell

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