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A brief lineage of the Page Drug Store and its successors , c. 1870-1982

J.N. Page to John D. Lowe III, et al. Click on headline now for complete story with information which will help connect the dots on topics of conversation attending the re-opening of Nanwood Market, including: The Conover family and connections. J.N. Conover. Sara Conover & Herb Taylor. Dr. Charles N. Russell. Russell & Taylor. G.W. Dillon, Rich Dillon. Metcalfe County & Breeding connections. Thomas C. Brown and Mitchell Ellis, the Glasgow connection. The Young Rexall Drug and Collins Drug Connection. Michael Lee Stephens and Tim Toms. Flowers Ford & Madison Square.


Adair County native J.N. Page opened a drug store in Columbia prior to the summer of 1873. When he died in the spring of 1927, the News remarked, in part,

"Dr. Page had spent most of his life, since he was a young man, as a druggist. When cholera broke out in 1873 most of the residents left Columbia, but Dr. Page kept his store open and supplied medicines and helped to nurse those who were ill."

A brief entry toward the end of 1898 noted that "Dr. J.N. Page has removed his stock of goods, etc., to the Jones Block. He has the best arranged drug house in this section of the State." The Jones block referred to the octant of the Square between the entry side of Burkesville Street and the interior corner. (The W.W. Jones business houses, now occupied in part by Red Brick Studio, were just completed.)

A series of paid ads in the News in January 1900 stated that "The firm of Page & Powell dissolved the first day of January by mutual consent. Dr. Page will continue the drug business at the same stand. . ." (This series of notices were the only mentions found of the firm Page & Powell.)

By the time he sold the enterprise in mid-1920, Mr. Page was 85 years old and the local paper stated "he is doubtless the best known druggist in the Green river section of Kentucky" and that "he is known to every man in Adair county who has reached his majority. . . "

Of the two new owners, Adair native Dr. Charles M. Russell, then 50 years old, was well known throughout the county. The other, Mr. Herb Taylor, not quite thirty and a newcomer to town, had moved from Campbellsville just weeks earlier upon his marriage to Miss Sara, a belle of Columbia and daughter of well-known businessman J.N. Conover. For the space of almost exactly two years, these gentlemen ran the operation under the name Russell & Taylor. The non-drug items carried by this firm included Community Plate brand flatware, phonograph records, and Mr. David Heskamp's favorite drink, "Now 5c."

Come July 1922, either Mr. Taylor or Dr. Russell -- or both -- wanted a change, and thus the drugstore sold again, this time going to G.W. Dillon, a native of the Old Dominion and a registered pharmacist. The local paper reported Mr. Dillon would take possession the first of August, and that at that time, either he or his son Rich, also a registered pharmacist, would remove from Breeding to Columbia to run the business.

Not quite eight years later, the elder Mr. Dillon, already in failing health, suffered a heart attack and died in the spring of 1930, a few weeks before his 71st birthday. The paper noted that after his marriage to Miss Allie Breeding (in 1888) he had removed from Metcalfe County to the Breeding community and practiced pharmacy there until moving to Columbia in 1922. He already was a pharmacist at the time of his marriage and likely had practiced in Metcalfe County.

Shortly after Mr. Dillon passed, his widow sold the store to Thomas C. Brown, of Campbellsville, who with his wife then came to Columbia and ran the establishment for twenty-seven and a half years. Somewhere along the line, James Mitchell Ellis, a Glasgow pharmacist, became Mr. Brown's (silent) partner.

In early November 1957, Messrs. Brown and Ellis sold the operation to thirty-two-year old John D. Lowe III. Mr. Lowe's obituary (2007) stated that

"He was employed by Collins Drug Company [in Columbia] from 1951-1955, and at Frankfort Drugs from 1955-1956. He was a pharmacist at Young Rexall Drug in Columbia, KY, from 1956 to 1957" and that "he purchased Brown Drug Store, Columbia, KY, on November 7, 1957, and operated that business as Lowe's Drugs until 1982."

Early February 1982 brought forth the revelation in the News that Mr. Lowe and his partner Mike Stephens had purchased the Flowers Ford property on Burkesville Street, with the intent to convert the front part of the building to a spacious drug store and to renovate the back portion as "a Doctor's suite and small shops."

At about the same time, Tim Toms joined the business. A mention-in-passing toward the end of April that year stated that Congressman Tim Lee Carter had been in Columbia and while there, he "met with Mike Stephens and Tim Toms, two local pharmacists who have developed the old Flowers Ford building into a miniature mall called 'Madison Square.'"

  • J.N. Page -- 47+ years: before 1873 - 1920 (partner ----- Powell, ?? - 1899)
  • Russell & Taylor -- two years: 1920 - 1922: (Dr. C.M. Russell & Mr. Herb Taylor)
  • G.W. Dillon -- eight years: 1922 - 1930
  • Thomas C. Brown -- 27 years: 1930 - 1957 (silent partner J. Mitchell Ellis ?? - 1957)
  • John D. Lowe: 25 years -- 1957-1882 (partners Mike Stephens ?? - ?? and Tim Toms 1982 -??)
Compiled by JIM

This story was posted on 2018-07-10 04:36:11
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