Just about every local supermarket or big-box discount store in Amarillo has a pharmacy inside. Between those locations are more than a dozen drugstore chains like Walgreens or CVS. Independent pharmacies may be slowly becoming a relic of the past, but that wasn’t the case in Amarillo’s infancy. The first local drugstore opened at Third Avenue and Polk Street around the turn of the century. Owned by a physician named John W. Pierson, The People’s Drugstore sold everything from glass and paint to tobacco and “fine cigars.” Eventually Pierson sold the business to Sam J. Brown, shown in the far left of this undated photo. When Amarillo elected its first city commissioners in 1913, voters chose Brown as city council secretary.
As a side note, the dark sign in the background – seen over the shoulder of the bearded man holding the newspaper – advertises the office of Dr. J.W. Cartwright, another of Amarillo’s first doctors. In 1889, Cartwright sent a herd of cattle to the Panhandle from Decatur, Texas. Soon after, he arrived in Amarillo to inspect the herd. Cartwright was so impressed with the area’s dry climate he decided to stay.
by Jason Boyett
Jason is a journalist, copywriter, ghostwriter, and the author of more than a dozen books. His most recent is “12 World Religions: The Beliefs, Rituals, and Traditions of Humanity's Most Influential Faiths”, published by Zephyros Press. Learn more at jasonboyett.com.