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18 Dec 2021, last revised 10 Jul 2024

Laurium was home to two long-lived pharmacies, Laurium Pharmacy and Superior Pharmacy, but only Superior Pharmacy used embossed bottles.

Superior Pharmacy in Richetta Block<br>Courtesy of National Park Service, Keweenaw National Historical Park
Richetta Block

In Sep 1900, "Dr. D. K. McQueen" arranged to rent the larger store room of the nearly-completed Richetta block on Hecla St. with plans to establish a new drug store (28). He had already ordered a large stock and pharmacy fixtures for the store (28). Later in the month, McQueen and pharmacist James McKenzie went to Chicago to buy the stock for their new store (29). In Oct, McKenzie and McQueen were in the process of stocking what would be known has "Superior Pharmacy", but were still awaiting the arrival of the fixtures (19). Finally, the newspaper announced on 10 Nov 1900 that the store was ready for business (20). The 1901 Polk directory listed the Superior Pharmacy at 333 Hecla St., Laurium, but with only "Dr. Donald K. MacQueen" as proprietor (1).

Donald K. MacQueen was born on 06 Jan 1866 in Ontario, Canada (3), and immigrated to the U.S. in 1890 (4) or 1891 (5). It is unknown when he settled in the Copper Country, but he was the health officer for Laurium (31,32) prior to opening the drug store.

In Apr 1901, Tony Sibilsky of Eagle River (30) joined the Superior Pharmacy as a pharmacist (23). Four months later, on 16 Aug 1901, Sibilsky bought half interest in the pharmacy and became part owner (33). The 1903 directory then listed "MacQueen & Sibilsky" as proprietors (2).

Tony W. Sibilsky was born on 21 Apr 1879 (6) in Eagle River, MI (7) to immigrants from Germany (5). In Oct 1897, he left for Big Rapids to study pharmacy at the Ferris Industrial School (40). In May 1898, he accepted a position at the Eagle Drug Store in Red Jacket (41). He was then certified as an assistant pharmacist in Mar 1900 (21,22), which would have been at the age of 21.

Polk directory ad - <i>Houghton County Directory 1901-02</i>
Polk directory ad - 1901
Newspaper ad - <i>The Copper Country Evening News</i> ,02 May 1903
Newspaper ad - May 1903

In Feb 1902, McKenzie, who also formerly managed the Eagle Drug Store in Red Jacket, returned to Pendill's Pharmacy in Marquette (24). "P. J. Furlong" from Muskegon, MI then joined Superior Pharmacy in Mar 1902 as a new pharmacist (25).

In Apr 1902, the proprietors secured a storeroom in the new State Savings Bank building to open a branch store once the building was completed, with Sibilsky to take active charge of management of both stores (34). The new store would be called the Bank Pharmacy (35). The building was completed in early Jun (36) and the storeroom was equipped with new fixtures (37). The Bank Pharmacy opened on 28 Jun 1902 with the C & H orchestra furnishing music (38). In short of two months, however, "McQueen & Sibilsky" decided that having two pharmacies in the same village was not a paying proposition (42). Accordingly, they closed the Bank Pharmacy and moved its stock to the Superior Pharmacy (39,42).

The 1907 directory stated that the store would be moving to the First National Bank building once completed (9). On 27 Jan 1908, the pharmacy moved into its new quarters (26). "Dr. McQueen" also secured a suite of offices on the second floor (43). The 1910 directory then stated their location as the First National Bank building (10), which was located on the southwest corner of 3rd St. and Hecla St.

Superior Pharmacy in First National Bank Building, c.1910<br>Courtesy of National Park Service, Keweenaw National Historical Park, Foster Collection, C&H Lib Card #232
First National Bank Building, c.1910
Sanborn map, corner of 3rd St and Hecla St. - Sep 1917
Sanborn map - Sep 1917

In May 1911, Superior Pharmacy opened a branch in Red Jacket at the location Vastbinder & Read recently vacated (11,12). In Nov 1913, the Red Jacket store was sold to Uno Montin, who was formally on staff at the Laurium store (13). Early in his career, Montin was employed at Macdonald's drug store (18) and worked at a drug store in El Paso, TX (27). Phil Furlong, who was managing the Red Jacket store, then resumed his previous position as head pharmacist at the Laurium store (13).

Newspaper ad - <i>The Calumet News</i>, 01 Jun 1911
Newspaper ad - Jun 1911
Newspaper ad - <i>The Calumet News</i>, 11 Mar 1914
Newspaper ad - Mar 1914

The 1910 U.S. Federal Census recorded MacQueen as a physician in general practice and Sibilsky as a druggist in his own store (5), however the 1910, 1912, and 1916 directories continued to list them together for the pharmacy (10,44,8). The 1916 directory listed Superior Pharmacy as a Rexall Store (8). The 1930 directory listed Sibilsky for Superior Pharmacy at 303 Hecla St. and MacQueen as a physician at 301 Hecla St. (14). Donald MacQueen was recorded as a medical doctor on the 1940 U.S. Federal Census (15). He then died on 17 Oct 1949 at the age of 83 and was buried in Lakeview Cemetery, Calumet (3). Anton Sibilsky was recorded as a proprietor on the 1940 census (15). Superior Pharmacy was still listed at 303 Hecla St. in a 1947/1948 business directory (17). Sibilsky died on 11 Aug 1969 at the age of 90 and was buried in the same cemetery (16).

The drug store started in 1900 and it is unknown when it closed. Their bottles bear the mark of the Western Bottling Manufacturing Co. The first two bottles (#12 and #s32) have a similar design and date to 1900-1907. Their last bottle (#13) has First Natn'l Bank Bldg as the location so it dates to 1908-c.1910.

Pharmacy bottle label<br>Courtesy of the Richard Dana Collection
Pharmacy bottle label
Pharmacy bottle label<br>Courtesy of the Richard Dana Collection
Pharmacy bottle label

References

  1. R. L. Polk & Co. 1901. Houghton County Directory 1901-02. R. L. Polk & Co., Publishers. Detroit, MI.
  2. R. L. Polk & Co. 1903. Houghton County Directory 1903-04. R. L. Polk & Co., Publishers. Detroit, MI.
  3. Find a Grave. accessed Dec 2021. Dr Donald K. MacQueen. findagrave.com/memorial/213281540/donald-k-macqueen
  4. U.S. Census Bureau. 1900 United States Federal Census. accessed on ancestry.com.
  5. U.S. Census Bureau. 1910 United States Federal Census. accessed on ancestry.com.
  6. U.S. Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. (accessed on ancestry.com).
  7. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 for Anton W Sibilsky (accessed on ancestry.com).
  8. R. L. Polk & Co. 1916. Houghton County Directory 1916-17. R. L. Polk & Co., Publishers. Detroit, MI.
  9. R. L. Polk & Co. 1907. Houghton County Directory 1907-08. R. L. Polk & Co., Publishers. Detroit, MI.
  10. R. L. Polk & Co. 1910. 1910 Calumet, Houghton, Hancock and Laurium Directory. R. L. Polk & Co., Publishers. Detroit, MI.
  11. anonymous. (1911, Apr 11). Branch store in R. J. The Calumet News (Calumet, MI). p. 7.
  12. anonymous. (1911, May 23). Laurium briefs. The Calumet News (Calumet, MI). p. 7.
  13. anonymous. (1913, Nov 24). Pharmacy changes hands. The Calumet News. (Calumet, MI). p. 8.
  14. R. L. Polk & Co. 1930. Polk’s Calumet (Michigan) Directory 1930. R. L. Polk & Co., Publishers. Detroit, MI.
  15. U.S. Census Bureau. 1940 United States Federal Census. accessed on ancestry.com.
  16. Find a Grave. accessed Dec 2021. Anton W. "Tony" Sibilsky. findagrave.com/memorial/219531160/anton-w-sibilsky
  17. The Daily Mining Gazette. 1947 or 1948. Copper Country Classified Business and Professional Directory. Houghton, MI.
  18. anonymous. (1898, Aug 11). untitled. The Copper Country Evening News (Calumet, MI). p. 8.
  19. anonymous. (1900, Oct 17). Getting things in shape. The Copper Country Evening News (Calumet, MI). p. 4.
  20. anonymous. (1900, Nov 10). Ready for business. The Daily Mining Gazette (Houghton, MI). p. 6.
  21. anonymous. (1900, Mar 12). Passed pharmacy examination. The Copper Country Evening News (Calumet, MI). p. 5.
  22. anonymous. Mar 1900. Boards of Pharmacy. The Western Druggist 22 (3): 149-154.
  23. anonymous. (1901, Apr 11). Calumet-Laurium brevities. The Daily Mining Gazette (Houghton, MI). p. 6.
  24. anonymous. (1902, Feb 11). Personals. The Copper Country Evening News (Calumet, MI). p. 4.
  25. anonymous. (1902, Mar 10). The city. The Copper Country Evening News (Calumet, MI). p. 8.
  26. anonymous. (1908, Jan 28). Calumet-Laurium brevities. The Evening Journal (Hancock, MI). p. 6.
  27. anonymous. (1904, Jan 15). The city. The Copper Country Evening News (Calumet, MI). p. 5.
  28. anonymous. (1900, Sep 13). A new drug store. The Daily Mining Gazette (Houghton, MI). p. 3.
  29. anonymous. (1900, Sep 21). Calumet brevities. The Daily Mining Gazette (Houghton, MI). p. 6.
  30. anonymous. (1900, Nov 20). Calumet-Laurium brevities. The Daily Mining Gazette (Houghton, MI). p. 7.
  31. anonymous. (1896, Nov 06). News about town. The Copper Country Evening News (Calumet, MI). p. 4.
  32. anonymous. (1897, Apr 13). Laurium happenings. The Copper Country Evening News (Calumet, MI). p. 8.
  33. anonymous. (1901, Aug 17). Another business change. The Daily Mining Gazette (Houghton, MI). p. 6.
  34. anonymous. (1902, Apr 17). New drug store. The Daily Mining Gazette (Houghton, MI). p. 6.
  35. anonymous. (1902, May 30). Calumet-Laurium brevities. The Daily Mining Gazette (Houghton, MI). p. 6.
  36. anonymous. (1902, Jun 03). Moving into new quarters. The Daily Mining Gazette (Houghton, MI). p. 6.
  37. anonymous. (1902, Jun 15). Calumet-Laurium brevities. The Daily Mining Gazette (Houghton, MI). p. 6.
  38. anonymous. (1902, Jun 29). Calumet-Laurium brevities. The Daily Mining Gazette (Houghton, MI). p. 6.
  39. anonymous. (1902, Sep 01). The city. The Copper Country Evening News (Calumet, MI). p. 8.
  40. anonymous. (1897, Oct 28). untitled. The Copper Country Evening News (Calumet, MI). p. 4.
  41. anonymous. (1898, May 27). untitled. The Copper Country Evening News (Calumet, MI). p. 8.
  42. anonymous. (1902, Aug 26). Additional Calumet. Hancock Evening Journal (Hancock, MI). p. 7.
  43. anonymous. (1908, Jan 25). Calumet brevities. The Daily Mining Gazette (Houghton, MI). p. 6.
  44. R. L. Polk & Co. 1912. 1912 Calumet, Hancock, Houghton and Laurium Directory. R. L. Polk & Co., Publishers. Detroit, MI.

12
Superior Pharmacy bottle
8 oz
color: colorless
top: cork top - tooled
base outline: base shape S
date: 1900-1907
capacity - base mark - rarity:
2 oz - W. B. M. CO. - extremely rare
4 oz - W. B. M. CO. - extremely rare
8 oz - W. B. M. CO. - extremely rare
  • capacity marked above plate
12a
Superior Pharmacy bottle
2 oz
capacity - base mark - rarity:
2 oz - (none) - extremely rare
4 oz - (none) - extremely rare
  • same plate
  • no maker's mark
  • capacity marked above plate

s32
Superior Pharmacy bottle
2 oz
color: colorless
top: cork top - tooled
base outline: base shape Q
date: 1900-1907
capacity - base mark - rarity:
2 oz - BREED / W. B M CO. - extremely rare
4 oz - BREED / W. B M CO. - extremely rare
  • different bottle shape
  • includes BREED mark
  • capacity marked above plate

s59
Superior Pharmacy bottle
1 oz
color: colorless
top: cork top - tooled
base outline: base shape Q
date: c.1908
capacity - base mark - rarity:
1 oz - W. B. M. CO. - extremely rare
  • different bottle shape
  • capacity marked above plate

13
Superior Pharmacy bottle
4 oz
color: colorless
top: cork top - tooled
base outline: base shape Q
date: 1908-c.1910
capacity - base mark - rarity:
4 oz - W. B. M. CO. - rare
8 oz - W. B. MFG. Co. - rare
16 oz - W. B. M. CO. - extremely rare
  • capacity marked above plate