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200 North Main St | Bloomington, Illinois | 309-827-0428

Collection Description

The small, brick building at the northeast corner of Main and Front streets is one of the earliest brick buildings constructed in Bloomington.  In 1841 businessman James Miller purchased the 101 N. Main Street property, which had been in commercial use, and built the brick structure in 1843-44.  The building was continuously used as a drugstore for 117 years, from 1852-1969.  In 1978, Herbert and Hannah Livingston donated it to the McLean County Historical Society.  The society restored the building in 1980-81, and it remains in commercial use today.

At the present time, the 101 N. Main Street building is adjacent on the west to the David Davis Law Office, 104 E. Front Street, reconstructed by the society.  David Davis was a key member of the campaign to elect Abraham Lincoln president in 1860, and subsequently was appointed to the U. S. Supreme Court by Lincoln.  The society determined it necessary to reconstruct the law office because the original 1838 building had been incorporated into the 101 N. Main Street building through removal of a common wall in 1895.  The Miller/Davis buildings were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.

Research indicates druggists occupying the building in the 19th Century were: Larrison & Espey, 1871-72,   John E. Espey, 1873-1884, Charles H. White, 1884-85, David O. Moore, 1886-1894.

During the course of the archaeological and historical survey that preceded the 1980 building restoration, pharmacy business records were found in the attic of the 101 N. Main Street building.  These records, which constitute this collection, cover the years from approximately 1870 through 1887.  Almost all of the records date from the years that John E. Espey owned the business.  Although many are in poor condition, they serve as useful documentation of the pharmacy business, medicines and personal toiletries used in the last half of the 19th Century.


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