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Nighthawk: 1919

"People's Drug Store No. 2, Seventh and E Street, Night." 1919 or 1920 in Washington, D.C. National Photo Company glass negative. View full size.

"People's Drug Store No. 2, Seventh and E Street, Night." 1919 or 1920 in Washington, D.C. National Photo Company glass negative. View full size.


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The scales are now a quarter and the fortunes aren't any better.

A mere penny

Even in the 50s/60's when I was growing up these scales were a penny (and still around), so I'm guessing that was the amount.

The Scale

A penny surely. While the economy might have been good, you wouldn't expect to pay more to find out your weight than you would to buy a cigar.

Health Conscious

Waist watchers could even check their weights on that scale to the left. Wonder how much it cost? In the relatively good postwar economy I'm guessing a nickel.

Blue Laws

I spent part of my youth in a small Southern town. The drugstore was open on Sunday (People's, of course) but certain aisles were blocked because the "blue laws" said you could not purchase certain non-necessary items on Sunday. Even as a kid I found this nuts and wildly inconsistent, as to who decided what was which.

I miss People's. Perfect complement to Woolworth's. Lunch counter and lots of strange old remedies.

So what was the 'new' way

So what was the 'new' way for mothballing. It's too far away to tell what's on display to the right. Those hand-pump fumigators remind me of Tom and Jerry cartoons.

[Something to do with White Tar garment bags, it looks like. - Dave]

What? No Bacon and Eggs?

This is from the days when a "drug store" sold medical necessities and health care products, filled prescriptions and recommended patented remedies for "what ails ya", while today's drugstores sell all types of foods and products including everything from plastic lawn chairs to t-shirts to furniture and everything in between.

On this very day, the Walgreen's ad is featuring various canned goods, giftware, film developing, backpacks, batteries, toys, socks and slippers. How times have changed.

[Not much has changed, then. In addition to cigars, Coke and candy, the storefront here is devoted to a mothproofing display. - Dave]


If I'm reading it correctly, in the extreme left window, there are Helio's Genuine Manila Cigars, 7 for 25 cents. that would be about 3½ cents each. In 1920, Thomas Reilly Marshall, Woodrow Wilson's Vice President, said "that what this country really needs is a good 5 cent cigar" If you couldn't get a good one for a nickel, we can only imagine what a 3½-cent cigar was like.

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