Thursday, September 19, 2019

Guthrie, OK History: Oklahoma Frontier Drugstore Museum

Inside Oklahoma Frontier Drugstore from Mezzanine
Picture by Alanna 
By Alanna Radle Rodriguez and Judge Rodriguez

Hello Friends!

Thank you for joining us once again as we delve into the history of this great state, we call home. Oklahoma.

If in old westerns, you’ve always marveled at the modern techniques of 19th century medicine, the Oklahoma Frontier Drugstore Museum is for you. It’s a pharmacy student’s dreams, or a patient’s nightmare, depending on how you look at it.

Since 1992, the Oklahoma Frontier Drugstore Museum, located in the Gaffney Building in Guthrie, has provided visitors with a unique view of the evolution of the Drugstore and doctoring. This museum covers both the 19th and 20th centuries and allows a distinctive view of the drugstore’s evolution in the providing of the needed services we have come to value today.
Inside the Drugstore Museum
Picture by Alanna
But the history of the Drugstore museum didn’t just start in 1992. One of the people who made the April 22, 1889 land run was Forress B. Lillie. He established one of the first drug stores in the territory. His license from the territorial board of pharmacy before statehood, was the first license issued by the state board of pharmacy. In 1890, the Gaffney building was built and housed his drugstore. At some point, the building was owned by a Mrs. Ruby Tryon, a follow lover of history, who wanted to see another museum open in Guthrie and sold it to the Pharmacy Heritage foundation. One of the Museum’s treasure artifact is the first license issued, Mr. Lillie’s.

Included in this museum, there are numerous different examples that contributors have been gathering since the 1970’s. This includes numerous medical books, tools / devices (medicines, boxes, tins, one-fix-all elixirs) that will leave you asking how we survived to the modern age of medicine we live in today.

You got somethin' that ails ya,
We got somethin' to cure ya!
Picture by Alanna
The Museum has several examples of the original soda “pop” bottles where the bottles were capped with a marble set in the opening with a string in wax, so when a person pulls the string and breaks the wax, they can hit the marble and “pop” the seal. 
Original "Pop" Bottles
Picture by Alanna
They even have an original soda fountain / Ice Cream Parlor display set up to show the visitors how Drug-Stores would have children of all ages, visit for their sweets as well. Quite often, the museum will have sarsaparillas and or cream soda you can buy and drink. 

Ice Cream! Parlor
Picture by Alanna

It even has a dentist’s office that looks more a like a medieval torture chamber somehow.
Enter, the Dentist Office
Picture by Alanna

In the late fall of 2006, the museum added an apothecary garden in honor of their 25th anniversary of operation.

The Drugstore Museum also takes part in the yearly Victorian Walk that Guthrie holds for Christmas.

If you get the chance to tour the Historic Downtown of Guthrie, Oklahoma, we recommend you make a stop along the path to visit this wonderful site, and revel in its historic treasures they present. If you wish to find out more about this museum, you can visit them at

Born and raised in Edmond, Oklahoma, Alanna Radle Rodriguez is the great-great granddaughter of one of the first pioneers to settle in Indian Territory. Judge was born and raised in Little Axe, Oklahoma, the son of A.F. Veterans. Judge and Alanna love the history of the state and relish in volunteering at the 1889 Territorial Schoolhouse in Edmond. Her second published story, part of a collaborative novella titled 18 Redbud Lane, is now available. Alanna and Judge live with her parents in the Edmond area. They are currently collaborating on a historical fiction series that takes place in pre-statehood Oklahoma.


  1. This is very interesting, I would love to visit. I am a pharmacy technician and my place of work doesn't really look much like this with our modern day packaging, etc. And we certainly can't have our inventory out in the public eye in this current culture. Thanks for posting!

    1. Hey, Connie, there are many pharmacy students that "work" there. It sure is a change. If you're ever able to, I hope you get to come visit. The place is so worth it! And there are so many other museums that I'm sure you'd love to visit while your here. Thanks for reading!

  2. When I recall the drugstores from my youth, I can picture the soda fountains and the lunch counter with red stools to sit on and enjoy a meal. Very different from the quick "in and out" drugstores of today.

    1. Hello, Melissa! I can imagine the difference. It was a gathering place while you waited. Might be wise to put lunch counters in today's again. I've had to wait way too long on prescriptions and needed something to eat/drink. I'm glad you have those experiences. Did your parents let you have a soda while you waited?