Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Early Chilliwack Druggists: Part Five

C.H. Cowen Drug Company: "Palace Drug Store of the West!"

In April 1909, Charles Henry Cowen, a pharmacist from Vancouver, B.C., opened his first drug store in the Knight Block located at the southwest corner of Main and Wellington. Cowen's Drug Store provided the usual prescriptions as well as confectionery, perfumes, stationery, school supplies, chocolates and sundries.

Like other area druggists Charles Cowen advertised regularly and marketed his products for special holidays and celebrations such as Easter, Christmas and Dominion Day. In Cowen's first newspaper advertisement, he makes specific mention of his perfumes available for Easter: "Some of the odors are: Crushed Roses, Blue Lilies, Orchids, La France Rose, Safranor, Azurea, Crown, Crabapple Blossoms." (Chilliwack Progress, April 7, 1909, page 8).

Cowen also promoted the store's soda fountain. In June 1909, his ad for Dominion Day mentions his ice cream and soda fountain, "We have no doubt but nearly every one in the district has heard of Cowen's Ice Cream Sodas. They are simply delicious. Think of it, the richest ice cream, served with luscious fruits and fruit juices. This will be your opportunity to drink Soda Water in one of the Palace Drug Stores of the West." (Chilliwack Progress, June 23, 1909, page 8).

In November 1912 Cowen relocated his business to Five Corners opening in the new, but not completed, Irwin Block. Cowen remained at this location for many years but relocated to Sardis prior to 1937. His new drugstore was located at the corner of Knight and Vedder and it was at this location that Charles Cowen passed away May 7, 1938.

The Chilliwack Museum collection includes a container with a Cowen’s Drug Store label, a Cowen's Alum box and a labeled prescription bottle. Cowen was also the first Rexall affiliated drugstore in Chilliwack and there must be a myriad of Cowen/Rexall related items in existence.

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