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Huston's Drugs At 2219 Washington Ave.


Jermaine

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Ive passed this store a few times recently and never find it open. So I stopped there this afternoon and looked in the windows...it's something else. An old-style original counter and soda fountain, old-time shelves...I know it's all legit in age: the neon sign out front has got to date from the 40's.

Whats weird and SO cool is that it looks like someone just left the store as is, many years ago. There are old products...greeting cards, mags, make-up, etc. still on the shelves. Looks like its been closed for many years. I went round back and checked the electricity meter, and the power is on. Looked inside and spotted a clock on the wall which was working.

Again, its called Huston's Drugs and it's on Washington, just outside of downtown, across the street from Salvation Army. The neon sign outside appears to be broken but it's blue in color.

ANY info on this place or who owns it would be appreciated.

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Ive passed this store a few times recently and never find it open. So I stopped there this afternoon and looked in the windows...it's something else. An old-style original counter and soda fountain, old-time shelves...I know it's all legit in age: the neon sign out front has got to date from the 40's.

Whats weird and SO cool is that it looks like someone just left the store as is, many years ago. There are old products...greeting cards, mags, make-up, etc. still on the shelves. Looks like its been closed for many years. I went round back and checked the electricity meter, and the power is on. Looked inside and spotted a clock on the wall which was working.

Again, its called Huston's Drugs and it's on Washington, just outside of downtown, across the street from Salvation Army. The neon sign outside appears to be broken but it's blue in color.

ANY info on this place or who owns it would be appreciated.

It was still open when I lived in the neighborhood (1990....). I can't seem to recall if the fountain was still working at that time. I seem to remember that it closed not long afterwards, but, like you say, it was ambiguous, because everything was still in the store.

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Per HCAD, the address is 2219 Washington Ave (SE Corner of Washington & Hemphill). Owner is Lois A Gantt & Trust, 3010 N Shepherd, Houston, TX 77018 since 1999 (they also own the property catty corner on Union). Building was built in 1954 (could be correct), approx. 2500 SF on a 4350 SF lot, property is valued at just under $210K. Taxes were just under $4300 last year, paid in full.

I drive by this place all the time, but I never noticed all the stuff inside. I'll have to check it out on a bike.

Edited by Dan the Man
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The Gantt family has owned it for a long time - Lois Gantt died in September 2007, but the trust was set up almost ten years prior. Her children inherited the 3010 N Shepherd property (Thomas Jr. and Mary) - I assume they are the trustees of the Huston property. Guess they didn't want to/couldn't do anything with the old pharmacy.

Edit - also looks like Lois Gantt inherited the Shepherd property from her family (Henson) in the mid-eighties.

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This all sounds very similar to Park Place Pharmacy (across from Kelley's).

The lunch counter still opens in the mornings and all the old regulars go hang out there to eat - as they have been for years.

No new inventory in the store in ages and the pharmacy itself hasn't been open in years.

Basically, the owner just opens it to cook breakfast for all her friends.

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Here's a link to a lengthy 10/28/97 Chron article about the pharmacy ("Charm and cherry Cokes / Ever-present past, uncertain future for Huston's Pharmacy").

Thanks for posting this article, I've looked into those windows multiple times and always wondered what happened. It definitely seems frozen in time. Kind of amazing with all the development along Washington Avenue that nothing has happened with this place yet.

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It definitely seems frozen in time.

I have to comment. I lived on Joplin Street near the Park Place Pharmacy at one time and did go in occasionally to buy greeting cards and things like that. Our health insurance plan already dictated that we would have our prescriptions filled at Eckerd's. The owner, Mr. Harris, was also a neighbor of mine on Sims Drive in Garden Villas at a later time. I ate lunch at Huston's once in the mid-90's. Even then it seemed "frozen in time." I do remember that the hamburger I ordered tasted just like those I had at my grandfather's drug store.

My father is a retired pharmacist and his father was a pharmacist also. My grandfather owned a classic "drug store" on Old Humble Road (now Jensen) which had a lunch counter and soda fountain. My first memories of anything are of time I spent at the drug store.

Within a year of my grandfather's death in the mid-1960's my father sold the store as it were. He kept the property and rented the building to other interests but sold all the inventory and fixtures and went to work for one of the local chain pharmacies in Houston. He said he much preferred to have a steady pay check than to have his name on the front of the building. Considering the fate of most one-shop business of all types over the last forty or so years his decision seems to have been a wise one. Conversely, two of his classmates from pharmacy school had very successful stand-alone stores. One owned a drug store which had a lunch counter and sold all manner of sundries and gifts. The other owned three small apothecaries, i.e. sold only prescriptions, over-the-counter remedies and medical supplies.

Maybe it is just as well I only went into Huston's the one time. The feeling of nostalgia when I was there was almost overwhelming.

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Well, WOW.

Im glad I asked about this place.

Im from Houston, born and raised, and am back visiting from Colorado and took yesterday to just drive around the city and soak it in.

Ill likely be away when one of you manages to get inside that store...please think of me when you do.

The passing of time, people, and circumstance pains me greatly. These buildings should be remembered, humble as they are, with reverence.

Lives happened there...

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  • 1 month later...

sevfiv's image of the interior reminds me so much of my grandfather's store it nearly makes me weep. Granddad's had about twice the area (4500 sq. ft.) but it was arranged almost exactly the same - pharmacy in the rear, lunch counter to the right, and sundries in front. Even the rows of fluorescent lighting was the same. Like I said, I went in Huston's once in the mid 90's and the nostalgia hit me like a ton of bricks.

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  • 1 year later...

Interesting reading.

Got me to thinking and looked up the address of my father's store location. 4216 Washington Ave. It was built in 1910 according to HCAD.

He bought/leased (actually not sure) the location after WWII. It was a grocery store and there was a drug store connected to it at the corner.

The last time I went by there, it's still there. It's been several things ... I think a club/bar/jazz club. The parking lot next to it is still there and even the silver railing is still there where we parked. I remember leaving the store one night and someone tried to hold up my father for the night's receipts. The man had a knife. My mother carried the gun and she was so upset she couldn't use it. My father took the knife away from the "gentleman" and held him until the police came. After that, he kept the gun in his waistband. We always drove to Heights State Bank to make a night deposit before we went home. I was still in elementary school so for me it was scarey. Well, for mother too ....

I need to go there and take pictures to save.

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  • 7 years later...
  • The title was changed to Huston's Drugs At 2219 Washington Ave.

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