Forest City Drug Store

The Forest City Drug Store Museum in Forest City, Missouri, offers soda fountain drinks and ice cream treats to customers. Debbie Lehmer (left) and Dr. Peggy Ann Edwards (right) stand in the historic 1859 building.

The Forest City Drug Store that was established in 1859 has opened the doors of its soda fountain for the summer.

The Riverbend Extension Company currently owns and operates the Forest City Drug Store Museum located along Commercial Street in historic Forest City, Missouri.

The 1859 drug store in Holt County remains in its original state with display shelving, apothecary drawers and leaded-glass cabinets intact.

Dr. Peggy Ann Edwards, Forest City historian, said they have one of a very few working turn of the century fountains in the four-state corner region and its revival was made possible through a grant.

She said they purchased the parts to repair the soda foundation from Chicago and they estimated the fountain was from the 1880s.

Edwards said the stools in front of the treat counter are the same from 1859, but they have been reupholstered. The museum also has the first cash register that was used in the business and it is still functional.

“The floor is the original,” Edwards said. “A contractor realized it was an inlay maple floor. Instead of turning the board side-by-side, they turned them on end. The depth of the floor is 5 or 6 inches.”

The Forest City Drug Store was originally started and opened by the France family and remained under their ownership for over 90 years.

A doctor in St. Joseph by the name of Russell France wrote to his cousin in Baltimore, Maryland, in the 1860s and told him that Forest City was in need of a druggist. His cousin, John France, decided to come to Missouri and open the store.

She said nearly 1,000 visitors each summer visit the location to enjoy an ice cream treat served in glass bowls or to make a purchase from the original soda foundation.

The museum serves ice cream cones, banana splits and sundaes along with malts, shakes and cherry coke.

The Forest City Drug Store Museum will be open from noon to 4 p.m. every Sunday from June through August. It is also open for private parties.

For more information, contact Edwards by phone at 660-446-2003. They are located at 112 Commercial Street in Forest City. They can be found online at www.facebook.com/forestcitydrugstorehistoricalmuseum.