Whoo Gives a Hoot?

Whooo doesn’t love ice cream? And whooo doesn’t love sundaes, floats, and concoctions with names like “cherry phosphate” and “egg cream”? Whoo has fond memories of Owl Drug in Wenatchee, Washington?

The history of Wenatchee’s Owl Drug predates the formation of Chelan County. In 1894, only a year after the incorporation of Wenatchee, Owl Drug opened in the city’s downtown. Business boomed, and despite times of economic difficulty, Owl Drug persevered and prospered. A soda fountain was added to the pharmacy in 1926.

This ad was featured in The Wenatchee World c. 1966

In 2001, after 107 years of business, Owl Drug fell victim to economic hardship and closed. The soda fountain remained open under the name “The Owl”, selling sweet treats and gifts. After a year of no economic improvement, The Owl’s owner decided to close permanently and liquidate all assets.

Customers and staff alike were saddened by the loss of their beloved landmark. Pam Higgins, who started working at the Owl soda fountain in 1971, didn’t want to see Wenatchee’s only soda fountain sold piece-by-piece, so she and her husband, Frank, bought it. At first they had no idea what to do with it, but at the suggestion of local business owners, they moved everything two blocks north to the Commercial Building.

ML 003
Modern postcard purchased from The Owl

Now located at 25 N Wenatchee Ave, the counter, cabinets, stools, equipment, and Hamilton Beach mixers were all purchased from the original Owl. Pam and Frank also bought the pharmacy’s original cash register and 1926 Toledo Scale Company scale. These scales are said to be the most accurate scales in existence, and this particular scale was borrowed for military use during WWII. It was shipped to Moses Lake, Washington and used to weigh soldiers before they were sent out for duty.

The Owl is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9:30am to 6pm, and on Sunday from 12pm-5pm.


This Day in History

46 years ago today, Apollo 11 touched down on the moon and Neil Armstrong took “one giant leap for mankind.” The following day, the story held the best piece of newspaper real estate nationwide, including on this July 21, 1969 issue of The Wenatchee World.

The front page of The Wenatchee World, July 21, 1969-- "Man on the Moon"
The front page of The Wenatchee World, July 21, 1969– “Man on the Moon!”

National news stories in the issue include the charging of Ted Kennedy for the death of Mary Jo Kopechne, the death of Reverend A.D. King, and a day of little activity in Vietnam. Local news stories include the dedication of Lake Pateros, pictures of local brides, and 3 recent drownings.

Two of the weddings that were announced in the paper.
Two of the weddings that were announced in the paper.

Included at the bottom of page one was a box detailing what life was like nationwide and locally at the time of the moon landing. The attempt to cover many aspects of life in Wenatchee and the United States in general sounds almost like something out of a watered-down history textbook. The population of Wenatchee was a mere 19,000, and a quart of milk cost 30 cents.

This is the way it was on EARTH-- But was it?
This is the way it was on EARTH– But was it?