1933 SUMMER:  Construction of the Ostrander building after the fire of 1933

photo credit:  John G. Coleman Collection
click red dot on above photo to see prior to repair



McKean County Democrat February 17, 1938

Dr. W. A. Ostrander, 65, prominent local physician, pharmacist, and president of the Smethport council, passed away Saturday evening at 10:00 at the Kane Community Hospital.

Death came a week after Dr. Ostrander suffered a stroke of paralysis at McCoy’s Drug Store, where he was employed as pharmacist. He was taken to the hospital in Sasse’s ambulance and never regained full consciousness, although at times he appeared to understand conversation of physicians and members of his family.

Four years ago Dr. Ostrander suffered his first stroke. He was confined to his home on West King Street for some time but was eventually able to become fairly active again.

William Alonzo Ostrander was born in Smethport on December 5, 1872, a son of the late William Wallace and Orrisavilla Phydella Ostrander. He attended the Smethport schools and graduated from the old Smethport Academy, predecessor of the Smethport High School.

In 1886 he went to work as a printing apprentice in the office of the McKean County Miner. He was also employed for a time as clerk in Jay Abbey’s general store.

After accepting a position in Frank Foster’s drug store, he decided to become a registered pharmacist and entered the University of Buffalo, graduating in 1893. Dr. Ostrander managed a drug store for A. W. Colegrove for 18 months and was employed in A. B. Armstrong’s drug store.

He entered Jefferson Medical School, Philadelphia, in 1897, graduating with the Class of 1899. Thus he attained the unusual distinction of becoming both a registered pharmacist and a medical doctor.

Dr. Ostrander’s education, even more remarkable in those days than now, was attained by a great deal of effort. He told the writer he was actually hungry at times while attending college, in spite of managing to secure some funds by tutoring other students of better financial status.

His health suffered from his zeal to attain the goal of his ambition and he was threatened with tuberculosis when he graduated from Jefferson.

Dr. Ostrander returned home and engaged in general practice. His health improved and he withstood an arduous existence for many years. Life of a country doctor was no bed of roses in those days. There were no paved roads and deep mud or snow frequently made it almost impossible to travel. Even in comparatively recent years, Dr. Ostrander’s picture was taken while he was starting out on a wagon to answer a call to a farmhouse off the paved highway system.

Dr. Ostrander was not only a highly skilled physician and surgeon but was progressive, always endeavoring to keep abreast of the latest discoveries in his profession.

He was first named as McKean County medical director for the Pennsylvania Department of Health in 1903 and served in that official capacity with short interruptions up to four years ago. One of the writer’s first recollections of Dr. Ostrander was his annual examination of school children. This and his manifold other activities made him a well-known figure throughout this section.

Dr. Ostrander was a lifelong Republican- one of the Old Guard who might die but would never surrender. For approximately 35 years he served as a councilman and burgess, being re-elected a member of the council last November. On the first of this year the new council unanimously elected him president, a position he had held for numerous terms.

During his long years of public service, Dr. Ostrander constantly endeavored to improve the town and was always a leader in movements for public benefit.