Gandy’s Drug Store & Trade Cards

These trade cards were issued around the mid-1880s for J. Thomas Gandy’s drug store in Hopewell. These pocketable cards with colorful images were a popular method of promotion to clients and customers, and are shared here thanks to the kindness of Bob Gantz.

== View all the Gandy Drug Store Trade Cards in the Image Gallery ==

Drug stores clearly had a large scope at the time – featuring “Drugs, Medicines, Fancy Articles,” plus “Cigars, Tobaccos, Garden Seeds” – and more.

The more are listed in this 1886 advertisement, including sponges and syringes; spices and toilet preparations; colognes and powder puffs; shaving, tooth, and hair brushes; and bird and garden seeds – “everything pertaining to a First Class Drug Store” – plus also “a Choice Line of Cigars.”

The Location

However, sometimes it can be tricky to track down where a business was located, and what property it matches in the current-day streetscape. In the case of Gandy’s Drug Store it gets worse – not only was the building lost when the whole block was destroyed in a huge fire, but even the property that it stood on no longer exists!

The records are a bit sparse, but J. Thomas Gandy ran the drug store in Hopewell from the mid-1880s until 1888, when the business was sold to S. W. Cochran and Ralph Ege, who continued to operate it as “Gandy’s.” There also was a Woodhull Pharmacy of Dr. J. N. Woodhull at the same general location before 1882, when it was taken over by Dr. E. C. Baker.

The location of these stores is described in the newspapers as Main street opposite Greenwood avenue,” or more precisely “on the south side of Broad street, where South Greenwood avenue now begins.” These buildings were constructed before South Greenwood was opened as a street, so they occupied what is now the entrance to South Greenwood from Broad.

The three buildings are visible in the 1887 Fowler panoramic aerial map.

The left building (#7) is labelled “Conrad Behre / Oyster & Eating Saloon,” and the middle building (#6) is labelled “J. Thomas Gandy / Druggist.”

The three buildings also are shown in the 1890 Scarlett & Scarlett fire map – marked as “Plumber,” “Drugs,” and “Hook & Ladder.”

Next to them, starting what we now call East Broad Street, are the parsonage of the Calvary Baptist Church (1 East Broad), and the Calvary Baptist Church (3 East Broad, built in 1872).

(The Hook and Ladder Company had been formed in 1877 as Hopewell’s first fire company, and was located in this one-story building.)

The Fire

In January 1893, Conrad Behre began reworking this corner-to-be by starting construction of an “immense” hardware store complex starting at what we now call West Broad Street, at the location of the current Hopewell Pharmacy (1 West Broad).

Then on August 7, 1893, the Behre’s Hall fire broke out, “the most serious fire ever known in Hopewell,” which consumed the center of Hopewell, including Behre’s Hall, the three properties at the entrance to South Greenwood (including Gandy’s Drug Store and the Hook and Ladder fire company), and the Calvary Baptist Church parsonage.

South Greenwood Avenue then was opened up in the aftermath of the fire, as the Hook and Ladder Company built Columbia Hall in 1896 as its new home down the street (the predecessor to today’s Hopewell Theatre, at 5 South Greenwood).

And the current Hopewell Pharmacy complex also was constructed. Originally known as the Holcombe Block, it then was occupied by an uninterrupted series of pharmacies, starting with George E. Pearson in 1894.

So while we no longer have Gandy’s Drug Store – or even a building lot on the street where it was located – these trade cards help us understand its place in the community.

== View all the Gandy Drug Store Trade Cards in the Image Gallery ==

Do you have other materials like these to help share the history of the Hopewell Valley? We’re very interested in scanning and sharing them.

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