A current (August, 2006) question elicited for the Aikin Archives asks if anyone remembers the Palace Drug Store.
Actually there were two. The Palace Number One was located on the northeast corner of the Plaza, and the Number Two was located on the southwest corner of the Plaza. Both were owned by William H. Campbell and John R. Campbell, two gentleman who also owned Campbell’s Ice Cream Company at 143 South Main.
The Number One is best recalled as a favorite watering hole for Paris High School students, especially in midafternoon when school was dismissed for the day. There was a side entrance facing Lamar Avenue, and that’s where the Palace Coffee Shop and the pharmacy were accessed. Entering from the front, which faced the Plaza next door to S. H. Kress and Co., you saw the beautiful and long marble-topped fountain to the left, plus booths on the right and a table in back. The waitresses were high-school girls who wore immaculate white dresses, probably made of voile or watered silk. One was Martha Savage (PHS Class of 1955), and another was Virginia Lane (PHS Class of 1957). They could concoct any kind of Coca-Cola drink you wanted, and the most popular was the cherry Coke for only a nickel. My favorite on a summer day was the tall refreshing orangeade with fresh-squeezed fruit for only a dime. All varieties of sundaes were available for just fifteen cents. My favorite was the marshmallow, which featured a syrupy marshmallow ingredient swirled throughout the bounteous scoops of ice cream. Daisy Harvill recalls narrow aisles crowded with various items of merchandise.
The Number Two, being cater-cornered across the Plaza from the Number One, was not nearly as popular for students, but was busy enough. The fountain was on the right, tables on the left. Henry McEwin recalls a different interior layout, possibly because of a fire at nearby Dobson’s, a general merchandise store. His cousin, Earnestine Bonner, attended the fountain, which was in back according to him. My favorite reason for patronizing the Number Two was the self-serve ice-cream freezer with its pints of Campbell’s ice cream for fifteen cents. Their orange-pineapple flavor was outrageously scrumptious. Campbell’s also intoduced a bar-on-a-stick novelty called the Bananza. This was a frozen banana enrobed with chocolate-coated vanilla ice cream. I rarely had enough money to afford them at fifteen cents, what with Popsicles still costing only a nickel.
The Corner Drug Store was located on the Plaza’s southeast corner and had its fountain on the right. Two of the fountain girls were Chloie Ingram and Sandra Perkins. Mamie Rutherford, who played carols on an organ at Belk’s during Christmas season, recalls the chocolate-marshmallow sundaes. The Beasley-Vaughan Drug Store was on the Plaza’s north side during the 1950s. A decade earlier it had stood next to the Grand Theater on Lamar. Its fountain, which stood in the store’s rear, had a unique way of serving drinks. Conical paper cups were inserted in stainless-steel holders. My favorite was the lime Coke, which of course featured fresh-squeezed limes. I recall vividly the boxes of Pangburn’s Chocolates filling the shelves behind the fountain. There was a Cut Rate Drug Store at 218 Bonham. It had no fountain, but was the best place in Paris to buy cameras and photographic supplies.
The R. J. Murphy Drug Store on the Plaza’s south side was one of Paris’s oldest establishments. Evidently it specialized in cigars, as cigar bands littered the sidewalk and gutter before it. I recall many other drugstores, the most popular being the Owl at 1775 North Main, where motorcades packed with teen-agers circled nightly. As for Paris Junior College, the C & C Drug Store at 1709 Clarksville was always packed after football games on Saturday nights. Oh, what I wouldn’t give to revisit the Palace Number One again, just as it was in its glorious heyday!
David Clarkson, alumnus
Paris High School
Paris Junior College