By Nancy Ehlinger Saathoff
Back in the horse & buggy days of early Devine, Texas it might be surprising to know that we had several drug stores and doctors here, even though the population was pretty small! They had some healthy competition and drug stores were more than just pharmacies. They were essential in providing home remedies and prescription drugs, but were also very diversified in their services by having confectionaries with ice cream, malts & milkshakes, & candies, plus things like school supplies, stationary, jewelry, watch repairing, and more. Often the doctors would have their offices above the drug store, or in a back room. That must have worked well for “One-Stop” medical service back then!
The early drug stores in Devine were basic wooden structures with plain-looking facades, but that all changed when the Lion Drug Store built their brick building with such beautiful architecture. I have not located information about exactly when it was built, but probably between 1900 & 1910. The Lion Drug Store was in business in 1900 or earlier, and this was probably not their first store, but it was their most iconic! It was unclear who the early owners were, but Dr. Evans purchased the store and had his office in the back and his daughter, Miss Kate Evans, was the proprietor & pharmacist in the front. That was an unusual occupation for a woman in those days, but she continued in that profession for years.
This brick Lion Drug Store was situated on the east side of the railroad tracks between the first Loggins & Lilly store (old Locker Plant) and Hayden Street, and across the street from the Adams National Bank, on what is now Transportation Street. On older maps, Transportation was named either East Front Street, East Main Street, or East Depot Street and was the first business district in Devine! Businesses in this area included cafes, mercantile stores, cotton gins, a blacksmith shop, and of course, a drug store, or two! The schools were located farther east on the hill around Bowman Ave., and many residents built houses in this area before more businesses were built on the west side of the tracks.
In 1931 the Lion Drug Store may have been torn down, but it is not entirely clear if this brick building was the one that was, or if it was an older store. As I find more information, I can update this.
*This Picture, and others like it, of old, ornate buildings that were once standing in Devine can evoke all kinds of emotions, even today. As beautiful as they were, it is kind of sad that they no longer exist in our community to enjoy and bring a stronger sense of history to us now. But we are very fortunate to have some of these pictures still around and have the technology to share them with others. One of the goals of the Devine Historical Committee is to research and share the history of Devine that we find.
*If you have any photos, memorabilia, or stories of Devine that you would like share, please contact me anytime. And if you are on Facebook, please check out our Devine Historical Committee page for the wonderful pictures and stories that so many have shared. For more information, contact Nancy Ehlinger Saathoff at 210-289-6205 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
in downtown Devine
By Nancy Ehlinger Saathoff