Hargrave’s Pharmacy on West Broadway has been there forever – at least it seems that way – doling out good medicine and expert advice as long as I can remember. Its proprietor and chief pharmacist, Sal Lanzafame, has been there a long time, too.
“I came here in 1955, July 5,” he said when I called him up for an interview. “I was 21 and came back to Fulton after college and got a job with Steward Woods and went to work at Putnam’s. Do you remember Putnam’s?”
I do remember Putnam’s I told him. It was a small drugstore in downtown Fulton on Oneida Street, in the middle of the block between Perkins’ Corner on South Second Street (now 481) and Roy’s Furniture Store on the corner of Oneida and South First. (I also recall their special treat: a scoop of vanilla ice cream on a round, brownie-like cake and covered with chocolate syrup, and how gooey and good it was!)
Well, anyway, Mr. Woods’ owned both Putnam’s and Hargrave’s and his daughter, a young married woman who also was a pharmacist, was going to have a baby and that left Mr. Wood short a druggist.
So he sent Sal to manage Hargrave’s, where he was welcomed by Harry Montgomery, an older gentleman who helped him learn the ropes of running a business. “How would you like to own this place?” he asked Sal. “I should be that lucky,” was the reply.
It was just three short years later in 1958 and, according to Sal, “with the help of Harlow Stratton of Marine Midland Bank,” his dream cane true and he’s been there ever since!
Young Mr. Salvatore Lanzafame, now a married man with a growing family, had become the owner of the three-story brick building where the pharmacy made its home and from which it gets its name.
“It was built in 1862,” he said and asked if I knew there’s a ballroom upstairs – on the third floor – where dances and weddings and receptions and plays and all kinds of parties and even church service were once held.
Yes, I do remember “Hargrave’s Hall,” I said, because my high school sorority once had a party there. But I don’t recall what the occasion was (1948 was a long time ago!). In any case, Sal’s building is one of the oldest in town and a nice reminder of the other old brick buildings of similar construction that used to line our Dizzy Block before urban renewal came to call.
Sal and I reminisced a little about the other merchants that have come and gone — or might even still be there — during our lifetime along that stretch of West Broadway. Here’s what we came up with:
In the block between West First and West Second streets, where Hargrave’s is located, there was Kay’s Tot Shop; Harold Reynolds’s Liquor Store; a pool hall; The Cottage Bakery; Dempsey’s Sport Shop; a branch of Marine Midland Bank on the corner and the Community Development Agency that took its place before it also moved out.
In the block between West Second and West Third, there was Johnson’s Meat Market, that later became Mirabito’s supermarket); Eugene’s Shoe Repair; West Side Hardware. And Jerry’s Barber Shop which is still there on the corner of West Third.
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