HISTORY OF MINNESOTA DRUGGISTS 2
Digger Odell Publications ©2008
FROM AN INTERVIEW WITH MR. MELENDY
From The National Association of Retail Druggists Journal,
September 3, 1915
Mr. Melendy came from Dane county, Wisconsin, to Minneapolis in the spring of 1871. The population of Minneapolis at that time was about 13,000. His first position n was that of clerk with the firm of Lyman & Williams, wholesale and retail, located in Center block near Second street the heart of the business district at that time. He was with them from the spring of 1871 until 1873, when he went into the retail business with Mr. George R. Lyman under the firm name of Melendy & Lyman. They were located under the Nicollet Hotel on Washington avenue. They remained there until 1877, when they moved to 241 Nicollet avenue. and with others inaugurated the trend of business up Nicollet. Fifteen years later the firm moved to 421 Nicollet avenue. In 1874, Mr. Melendy and family moved to what was then near the suburbs of Minneapolis at Thirty-seventh street South, where they resided until May, 1904. About one and a half years after moving to 421 Nicollet avenue, the firm of Melendy & Lyman went out of business.
Among the first drug stores in Minneapolis were those owned by the following: Gray Brothers, Hennepin avenue, below Second street, now carried on by Horace Gray, son of T. K. Gray, in the same location as that occupied by the firm in 1855; George Huhn, on Hennepin avenue, below Second street, later moved to Nicollet avenue just below Second street; Savory & Johnson, corner of Washington and Hennepin avenues, before that under the Nicollet Hotel on Washington avenue; James Murrison, Merchants block, on Washington avenue between Nicollet and First, South; Mr. Bigelow, corner Second avenue, South (then Helen street) and Washington ; Webster Benner, in the Cataract House, corner of Sixth avenue, South, and Washington avenue; James Slemmons, on Nicollet avenue below Washington; Thomas Gardiner, one of the old-timers, on Nicollet, now on Hennepin near Eighth street ; Lyman & Williams, wholesale and retail, in Center block running through from Hennepin to Nicollet avenues. Original firm of the latter was Lyman & Tucker. Mr. Nelson Williams bought out Mr. Henry Tucker. Later George H. Lyman bought out Mr. Williams, and still later Mr. T. W. Lyman entered into partnership with his brother, G. R. Lyman, under the firm name of Lyman Brothers. About 1876, Mr. J. C. Eliel came from Chicago, Illinois, and bought into the firm, which then became known as the Lyman Eliel Drug Company, which has recently become the Minneapolis Drug Company, by merging with the Kennedy Andrews Drug Company, and Winecke & Doerr. Crossman & Plumer, corner Second street and Nicollet avenue; Hofflin & Thompson, corner Washington and First avenues, South, at a little later date, are among the other old-time pharmacists remembered by Mr. Melendy.
A local association was organized in St. Paul by the St. Paul pharmacists, in 1883. Minneapolis also organized a local association at about this time. St. Paul was the larger city then and it was the St. Paul pharmacists who first conceived the idea of organizing a state association. A meeting was held and Mr. R. O. Sweeney was selected president. A delegation was sent to Mr. Melendy to ask him whether he would accept the position of first vice-president. This he did. Mr. H. G. Webster was third vice-president, and Mr. S. L. Crocker, of Faribault, second vice-president; Mr. Stierle was treasurer; and W. S. Getty, secretary. The association was organized October 16, 1883, over Lambie & Bethune's drug store, corner Third and Wabasha streets, St. Paul, and the constitution and by-laws adopted at that time. The local druggists' association of Minneapolis sent a delegation to the local association at St. Paul, a conference was held, and as a result, a state meeting was called to discuss the subject of a state law regulating the practice of pharmacy. Mr. Melendy suggested that this proposed state law emanate from the state association. This first state meeting was held in 1885 in the board of trade rooms, St. Paul. A committee was appointed, at the first meeting, to introduce a pharmacy regulatory law - the law was passed by the legislature at the first introduction.
SECURITY REMEDY CO. MINNEAPOLIS
At the 1885 special meeting of the state association, March 7th, a committee was appointed to select fifteen names out of which fire were chosen to constitute the state board of pharmacy. The names of the five selected by the association were submitted to the governor of the state and were appointed by the governor to serve on the board of pharmacy, respectively, from one to five years.
In 1886, Mr. Melendy, in his presidential address, advocated the establishment of a college of pharmacy in connection with the University of Minnesota. The matter was placed in the hands of a college of pharmacy committee appointed at the 1886 meeting of the association. The legislative committee of the state association assisted all they could in getting the appropriation of $5,000 for the college of pharmacy in 1891. President Northrop also assisted very materially in obtaining the appropriation. The committeemen, among whom were Messrs. Melendy and Webster, of Minneapolis, and Messrs. Frost and J. P. Allen. of St. Paul. held several conferences with President Northrup of the University of Minnesota and ex-Governor Pillsbury, a member of the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota. At one time, in order to see President Northrop, the committee attended chapel exercises and had seats on the stage, conferring with President Northrop afterward. President Northrop was very anxious to have a college of pharmacy organized. The basis of Mr. Melendy's reputation as the father of the college of pharmacy rests largely with the work he did with ex-Governor Pillsbury with a view toward establishing the college. Mr. Melendy and Mr. H. G. Webster kept after things, never letting up, until they accomplished their purpose.
Mr. T. F. Stark. of Minneapolis. also was instrumental in establishing the college and worked hard with the rest. The following named amen were among the early workers iii whatever appertained to the college of pharmacy prior, and subsequent, to 1883: Crocker, of Faribault: Max Wirth. of Duluth ; Henning, of Stillwater : Dr. C. Weschke, of New Ulm ; R. A. Becker, of St. Paul ; G. A. Gotwald, D. D. Lambie, S. R. McMaster. B. Zimmerman, A. P Wilkes, A. J. Wampler, S. H. Reeves, R. 0.Sweeney, and Karl Simmons, of St. Paul; I. R. Hofflin, H. G. Webster, George Huhn, W. K. Hicks, T. F. Stark, W. C. Gailbraith,of Minneapolis; G. Hargesheimer, of Rochester; J. R. Jones, of Mankato; W. D. King, of Stillwater, ; and Dr. I. C. R. Kellam, of Heron Lake.
The drug business in the early '70's had the reputation of being a money-maker. Many put money into drugs only because it was thought there was great profit in them. "]'his led to low standards in pharmacy and stimulated those who were pharmacists to act in regard to the passage of the law. In New York and several eastern states they were passing laws, and those who could not get into the business in the East came \-Vest. All "patent" medicines sold for the price marked on the container. There was no haggling or dickering over prices at that time and customers paid whatever prices were asked for sundries and the like-no department stores at that time. prescription business was fair, but many physicians carried saddle-bags and furnished their own medicines. Not many proprietaries or patents were prescribed at that time by physicians. Not much soda water was dispensed, and mineral waters were sold by the bottle. Some druggists carried cigars, but not all. Mr. Melendy did not. Caswell & Hazzard, of New York, furnished Mr. Melendy all elixirs and Traver & Tildon furnished him with such fluidextracts that he did not prepare himself. Melendy & Lyman was one of the first firms to put in a line of Squibb's standardized fluidextracts. The first Squibb's fluidextract of belladonna that Mr. Melendy dispensed was on a prescription of Dr. C. G. Goodrich for the Reverend Sample of the Westminster Presbyterian Church. The prescription called for "F. E. Belladonna" in a three-ounce mixture. It was dispensed on Saturday, the Reverend Sample taking a dose Saturday evening and another Sunday morning. By the time the reverend was ready to read the bible at the morning service, the effect of the belladonna upon his eyes had become sufficiently pronounced to make it impossible for him to read the scriptural passages. It appears that neither the physician nor the patient expected any effect from the belladonna.