Picking up some “Cool Old Stuff” at historic Watson Drugs and Soda Fountain in Old Towne Orange, California

You never know quite what you find when you are on a pick. Such was the case when Chris was invited to the basement at the historic Watson’s Drug Store in Old Towne Orange, CA.

Chris has traded signs back and forth with the owner of Watson’s Drug Store in Orange. Porcelain Carnation signs, vintage coca-cola tins and even a lighted marquis sign were great fun to pull from the shadows and share with our customers.

Recently we were invited to see the basement and what lurked below the 1888 building. We were asked not to take any photos in the basement, so we kept the cap on the lens as requested. After picking a couple of nice items they asked if we would like to buy the entire contents including old soda fountain stools, tables, etc. We agreed and got moving.

As we brought the items to the light of day we found some really interesting things. Things we have never seen before. One of the items which most intrigued us was this old book found in the bottom of a plastic bin. The hardbound book was a bit curved from sitting at a weird angle. The book was filled with prescriptions glued onto the pages. Looking deeper, I found that under the prescriptions, the pages of the book have very interesting handwriting on them. The book was a hotel guest registry.

The prescriptions were from The Gem Pharmacy in Orange (predecessor to Watson’s) and they were dated as far back as 1888! The prescription tablets received a design change in mid 1890’s until Watson’s bought the drug store in 1899.

Back to the book they were glued in. The book was printed in 1867 for the Natick House in downtown Los Angeles. The dates of the guest registry run through the mid 1880’s!  Quick research on The Natick House found it to be a significant hotel in the center of Los Angeles in the 1800’s. The first hotel to have an elevator, hand-operated at that. People from all over the world would land at the hotel. Just wonder who’s names were covered up from the prescriptions in this small farm town 30 miles south. The last photo in the gallery is a current photo of the site where the majestic Natick House stood. Note the building in the background on the left. It is the same building as the photo from 1939.