Thursday, May 15, 2008

Old soap



Earlier this spring, I attended a gardening convention held at Landmark Park in Dothan, Alabama. The old Martin Drug Store was moved there from Enterprise, and reopened four years ago. An operating pharmacy from 1898 to 1983, it's now part museum and part ice cream parlor.



You might guess which display I gravitated towards: the historical soap! None of it's for sale, alas. More of these than I'd realized are still made today: Cashmere Bouquet, Octagon, Grandpa's Pine Tar Soap, Palmer's Skin Success Soap. I'm not sure what happened to the others... soaps with charming names like Sterne's Carbolic Soap, Drexel's Wonder Soap, Flotilla Floating Bath Soap, and Packer's Charm Soap.



According to the book Boiled Peanuts and Buckeyes, the people at Martin's "were notorious for not throwing anything away and keeping meticulous records. They held onto every receipt, medicine bottle and cosmetic that ever entered the store... They had the most comprehensive collection of pharmaceutical artifacts in the nation."



I can recommend the Peach ice cream!

13 comments:

nina said...

I love the charm of the old stores.
Something very comforting about squeaky wood floors and bells on doors.
Why don't we do that anymore?

karl said...

very interesting. places like that are like a lost art. i hate it for my kids that they'll miss this phenomenon in practice.

KFarmer said...

Just yesterday I heard that an old feed store in down-town Macon had sold everything and closed. I loved going in there looking at all the goodies and buying stuff that you just don't see or can find anymore. I'm sad...

Kudos on the peach ice cream :)

bill/prairie point said...

I remember Cashmere Bouquet and Pine Tar Soap.

Floridacracker said...

Peach ice cream ... YES,YESSS, YEESSSSSSSS!

Sorry.

Hey, I am way inspired by the skull tree. Too cool.

I'm planting one soon.

NCmountainwoman said...

I do so love the old stores and I'm glad that people restore them to their original state. I just admit that I would have gone straight for the ice cream.

Rurality said...

Nina, I remember the sqeaky floors from my childhood. Goes together with a certain scent you don't find in stores anymore either (even in this one).

Karl, I imagine they are around but just very few and far-between. We stepped into a really cool old place in Maine once but I couldn't tell you where... we were just making a pit stop!

KF, yeah downtown is where places like that are going away fast. You know I've never been to Macon, but I want to one of these days.

Bill, I was surprised to find that they still made those!

FC, I shudder to think at what you'll use for seeds. Or fertilizer either, for that matter. ;)

NCMW, it was free too! The conference gave us a coupon. :)

For the record, the BEST peach ice cream is at Peach Park in Clanton. The exit off I-65 that's marked by the Big Butt. (Supposed to be a peach, but everybody calls it the Big Butt.)

Anne-Marie said...

This looks like the cutest store ever. I'll bet you had a blast! Vintage soap and ice cream in the same place? I'm sold!

lisa said...

LOVE those antique stores! I went to a truck show in MI once, and they had an entire town of shops like that...very cool. I keep that stuff too, at home I have some "DeWitt's Saponified Coconut Shampoo"...the bottle is full, but I'm not trying it! :)

Rurality said...

Anne-Marie, the guy running the place was a real hoot too.

Lisa, I don't blame you, LOL.

dr.ly said...

I came across your great pix of Landmark Park while I was surfing the web looking for a price/ebay list for Flotilla floating Bath Soap. I am currently cataloging all the items from the Martin Drug store that have not been unpacked. I have one bar of Flotilla and wanted you to know that when you come back to LMP it should be on display with other soaps, medicines, and cosmetics. I am an immigrant to Dothan from North Alabama so I was really interested in your comments.
dr.ly

Rurality said...

Thanks for the info! That would be a fun job, to catalog all the items there. :)

Kina said...

I live on the island of Kauai in Hawaii, and our CVS/Long's store carries Cashmere Bouquet for just over $1!! I love that scent, and especially in the hot humid summer - I have really oily skin - it's my favorite soap!

And the smell reminds me of childhood -- well, the good parts of childhood. *LOL*