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Millar Bros. Pharmacy, 1950

This photo taken in the winter of 1950 is bound to jog a few memories of longtime Hamburg village residents.

The main target in the picture is Millar Bros. Pharmacy, but it’s interesting to see Emerling’s Shoe Store next door at the right in the photo.

Most people will remember Emerling’s farther up Main Street toward the four corners. McConnell’s Jewelry Store will be remembered by some as the longtime occupant of the structure seen next to Millar’s.

That’s a 1949 or 1950 Pontiac sitting next to the parking meter in front of the store. Of course, parking meters have been long gone from Main Street, but if you are longing for the sight of the old-fashioned street lights in the photo, they still may be seen on the front lawn of the Hamburg Town Hall on South Park Avenue.

The pharmacy was actually started in 1920 by Donald Temple at 79 Main St. In 1937, David and Gordon Millar took over the business from Gara Lester and changed its name to Millar Bros. Pharmacy. Harold Millar joined his brothers in 1939 and became a partner in 1946. The business was moved to 71 Main St. (formerly Kleinfeld’s Bakery) in 1949, probably when this photo was taken.

Today, the former Millar building with its classic front window is now enclosed and is occupied by a law firm and other tenants.

In February of 1955, after 60 years on Main Street, the pharmacy was sold to Quality Markets and moved inside their supermarket on South Park Avenue.

Changes in the pharmaceutical industry, the McKinley Mall and an excellent offer from Quality Markets were cited as the major reasons for the move.

David Millar, Harold’s nephew and partner Jack McGuiness operated the Main Street store after taking over Harold. It was Dave and Jack, along with just about all the old store’s entire staff, that made the move to Quality.

They would go on to provide Hamburg residents with the same personal service that patrons had become use to at the old store’s location. Unfortunately, the Quality Market would later close at the South Park Avenue plaza.

However, most old-time patrons would probably agree that the hometown drug store atmosphere provided by the former store’s soda fountain and front window view of a busy Main Street will be a hard act to follow.

But as noted in previous articles in this column featuring Brook’s Pharmacy on Lake Shore Road and Forster’s Pharmacy in Blasdell, the local neighborhood drug store is fast becoming a thing of the past.

They are now being replaced by the giants of the industry and by the supermarkets with in store pharmacies. So it would seem that Hamburg residents remain fortunate in that they have several stores available with familiar faces to fill their pharmacy needs.

From the Archives...

Erie County Independent:

Nov. 2, 1950 – Persons attending the Oct. 25 meeting of the Hamburg Civic League in Legion Hall in an informal opinion poll, voted use of the $15,000 Village War Memorial Fund for the new Community Center wing.

The voting followed a panel discussion on possible use of memorial funds. James F. Merson, Community Center Board president, told of plans for a new center wing at a cost of $40,000 to $50,000. It would include craft, recreation and community rooms.

Photo– Historian files

Reference: The Sun, February 1995

This column is written each week by Hamburg Town Historian Jim Baker.

Anyone wanting to submit photographs and/or materials can call the Town Historian Jim Baker at the Hamburg Town Hall on either Wednesday or Thursday between 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. at 649-6111 ext. 2400.

Readers can also provide feedback by writing to The Sun and mailing it to The Sun, 141 Buffalo St., Hamburg, NY 14075.


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