1933 SUMMER:  Construction of the Ostrander building after the fire of 1933
photo credit:  John G. Coleman Collection



McKean County Democrat November 23, 1933

The resplendent new Corner Drug Store opened on Monday and has been attracting most favorable comments from a multitude of visitors. Dr. W. A. Ostrander has built a business place on the site of his building destroyed by the Main street fire last January, which is modern in every detail and is unsurpassed in this section.

The drug store portion of the new building and Dr. Ostrander’s fine private suite of offices on the first floor on the same side, and the tap room in the rear, are the only parts of the structure open to date. Considerable work remains to be done on the other storeroom on the ground floor, where eight offices and a large apartment are located.

A large neon sign remains to be installed in front of the drug store.

The exterior of the drug store is a thing of beauty with modern show windows.

The magnificent soda fountain, with back bar of varlet-colored inlaid wood, handsome mirrors and an oil painting facility for dispensing ice cream, sodas, drinks of various kinds, etc., is a delight to the eye of every visitor. Combined with the back bar is a refrigerated compartment for salads and cold meats; ample storage space for pastries, and a large electric refrigerator.

The combination soda and lunch counter has twelve stools. Display cases for tobaccos, candy, and other goods are the last word in beauty and utility. The shelves are enclosed with sliding glass doors.

An indirect lighting system from silver fixtures, combined with the white walls and ceiling, gives plenty of illumination without glare.

Inlaid rubber blocks form the floor of the establishment.

A model kitchen is provided in connection with the drug store proper. Nothing was spared to make the kitchen sanitary, even to the installation of a costly mechanical ventilator.

The grillroom, which is connected with the drug store by a short hallway, has seating accommodations for forty at tables and three booths. There are also three booths in the drug store.

A rest room is provided in the basement of the structure.

The entire building is heated by steam from a large boiler in the basement. The boiler is fired by an oil burner, supplied from a 1000-gallon tank buried in the rear of the building.

Copper pipes were used for the plumbing system throughout the building. Filtered water of good taste and utmost purity is automatically pumped from a well drilled almost 300 feet below the basement floor.

Hardware on the doors of the drug store is chromium-plated, an unusual feature of fine construction. And, by the way, there are 78 doors in the new building.

It might be of interest to recall at this time that the new Ostrander building is 100 feet long and 44 feet wide, two stories high, with fully excavated basement. The foundation is of massive native stone. A heavy steel framework supports the brick structure.

Provision was made in the plans of the structure for use of half of the large basement for four bowling alleys. It is understood that these alleys will be installed in the near future by a number of local men, who have formed an association for that purpose.

The opening of the new Corner Drug Store this week recalls the fact that it is the direct successor of the oldest drug store, not only in Smethport, but the entire county.

The building destroyed by fire last January was erected in 1857 by Jabez Beckwith and used by him as a dry goods and grocery store. This was the location chosen by the late Dr. S. W. Hogarth, was employed as a clerk for some time before the latter conducted the establishment in his own name from 1895 until 1922, when it was purchased by Dr. Ostrander.

The new Corner Drug Store is the second structure to be built here to replace the fire ruins. The first was the building erected by Chas, Infantino, and opened some time ago.

Local people hope that others will follow the initiative taken by Dr. Ostrander and Mr. Infantino and that buildings will cover the unsightly fire ruins.

People who have not personally inspected the Corner Drug Store cannot fully realize the investment made by Dr. Ostrander on the strength of his public-spirit and confidence in the future of Smethport.