Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


September 13, 2012

Andover Stories: Downtown business anchors, part II

Among the earliest businesses founded in Andover were the pharmacies or “apothecaries.”

That’s what they were called back in 1854 when David Horwath opened his shop. Hughes Pharmacy followed in 1863, beginning a relationship with Andover that spanned nearly 130 years. These stores, like many that would follow in the years to come, did more than simply dispense medicines, they offered their customers a wide assortment of goods ranging from books and stationary to jewelry.

Their longevity is due in no small way to their adapting to the changing needs of their customers. The turn of the century brought these changes to Andover’s Main Street – and to the lifestyle of most everyone in Andover. The widespread availability of electricity, the introduction of telephone service, the refinement of refrigeration systems, expanding the downtown Andover/Lawrence trolley service to Reading and Haverhill, and finally the automobile each had a dramatic impact on daily life.

In the early 1900s, downtown Andover had a growing number of druggists serving the needs of Andover’s growing population. In 1902, after serving his apprenticeship with local druggist W. H. Parker, Albert Lowe opened his pharmacy. It became a mainstay along Main Street for the next 50 years.

In February, 1907, the Andover Townsman gave its readers a glimpse into the beautiful new Crowley & Company store stating “…there is a single plate glass door, beautifully carved and mounted with a brass latch. On opening the door the first thing to meet the eye is the soda fountain.”

It was a sign of things to come. Beyond simply filling prescriptions and offering a wide array of goods, pharmacies were becoming social destinations – a place to gather and relax after school, following Sunday church service or at the end of a long shopping excursion on Main Street.

Paul Simone, long a fixture on Main Street, took the pharmacy business to a new height when, in 1932 after 25 years in the Musgrove building, he built the Simone block and opened Simeone’s Pharmacy on the corner of Main Street and Post Office Avenue. The new, modernistic building was spectacular to behold with its verde green marble bulkheads, brick windows finished in walnut, and gold bronze exterior woodwork. Inside, the store featured a “full line of Squibb and McKesson products…attractive fittings have also been installed including a soda fountain…(and) the hardware throughout the building is all chromium plated.” Simeone’s operated for over 60 years before closing in 1995. Walking by that corner today, you can still see the Simeone name above the front door on the building’s façade.

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