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Southern Drug Company At 1511 Preston St.


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I took this photo from my apartment window several months back because you could really see the old Sovthern Drvg Company signage on 1511 Preston.  Does anyone have any history on this company and building?  Since it has been added on to so much, I doubt anyone realizes this is a historic structure.  Even though the South Texas Intermediate Sanction Facility closed in 2016, the lights are still on in and out.  Seems like it could be a cool building if it were restored. 

Sovthern Drvg Company.jpg

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Doesn't seem to be a lot of info about the company online, but I did find a reference to a historic house at 200 Westmoreland that was built in 1905 for Brian Brewster Gilmer, who organized the company:



B.B. Gilmer was the secretary-treasurer of the Standard Milling Company when he bought this lot.  He organized the Southern Drug Company and became a national leader in his industry.  Gilmer also made significant civic contributions, including terms as president of the Houston Chamber of Commerce and the Houston Bankers, Wholesalers, and Manufacturers Association.


Edit: There is an ad for Southern Drug Company in the 1925 Campanile (Rice Institute/University yearbook) listing Gilmer as the president and describing the company as "wholesale druggists" (attached). Interestingly, three of Rice Institute founder's William Marsh Rice's nephews are also listed as company directors, which probably explains the ad in the Campanile. 


Edited by mkultra25
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My father was a pharmacist (now retired). He and my grandfather had their own drug store and after my grandfather passed my Dad went to work for a small local chain of apothecaries. They ordered their drugs (mostly prescription drugs) through Southern Drug Company. I remember seeing large boxes in the back of the drug store with the Southern Drug label on them. My understanding is Southern was not a manufacturer but a wholesale company as mkultra25 stated. It would buy drugs from Abbot, Lilly, SmithKlein, etc. and repackage them for local drug stores - at one time in the warehouse building shown in this thread. Realize that Walgreens, Eckerd's (absorbed by CVS) and other larger chains had real competition from locally owned independents by back then.

Edited by Specwriter
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  • The title was changed to Southern Drug Company At 1511 Preston St.

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