logo2

13 Oct 2021, last revised 16 Jul 2022

Kroll's Drug Store, Shelden Ave., Houghton<br>Courtesy of Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections, Reeder Collection, MS042-063-Z-618

Despite a long career as a druggist in Houghton, Fred W. Kroll is known to have only one bottle in one size that bears his name. Like most pharmacists, he evidently used mostly unembossed bottles.

Fred W. Kroll was born in Houghton on 30 Sept 1857 (1) to immigrants from Germany (2). Before becoming a druggist, he received a common school education, worked as a clerk in the Houghton post office for eight years, and then formed the firm of Fred W. Kroll & Co. in Sept 1879 with Frank A. Douglass as a partner (1). They appear to have been general merchants since they were dealers in books, stationery, notions, sporting goods, fancy goods, toys, confectionery, cigars, tobacco, etc. (1,3). The firm dissolved on 01 May 1888 with Kroll maintaining the business (13).

In Summer 1889, Kroll added improvements to his store, including new shelving and counters in the rear space formerly occupied by Douglass with plans to open a drug store in that space (17,18). He was listed alone in the 1889 directory (16), and added a soda fountain by May 1890 (19). In May 1890, the newspaper announced that he had purchased the prescription case from the post office news and drug store in Lake Linden in preparation to opening his drug store in Houghton (20). He opened the drug department in the west side of his store in May 1890, under the charge of M. A. Yonmans from Detroit, a registered pharmacist, while the east side of the store was devoted to Kroll's book and stationery business (21). At least from Sep 1890, the store was called the Star Drug Store (22,23). The 1891 directory listed Frederick W. Kroll as a druggist in Houghton, but also listed Kroll Brothers consisting of Frank and Frederick for groceries, provisions, flour, feed, etc. (14). The grocery store with his brother did not last long, since in Dec 1890, the grocery stock was being sold cheap (24), and then in Jan 1891, the store room was offered for rent by F. W. Kroll (25). The 1895 directory listed Fred W. Kroll as a dealer in drugs, sporting goods, and stationery (4).

Polk directory ads - Houghton County Directory 1895-96
Polk directory ads - 1895
Polk directory ads - Houghton County Directory 1895-96
Polk directory ads - 1895

The 1895 directory specified the location of the store as being on the north side of Shelden Ave., third unit east of Isle Royale St. (4). The 1893 Sanborn map marked this location as 224 Shelden Ave. and labeled the building "Drugs". In Apr 1899, fire damaged the building to the extent that it was hardly worth the expense to repair it, so Kroll decided to replace it (26). In May 1899, Kroll solicited bids to take down his old store, which needed to be removed by Jun 1st (15). The plan was to erect a two-story building with a sandstone front, offices on the second floor, and the drug store on the first floor (27). In Nov 1899, Kroll moved his stock from temporary quarters to his new building (28). The 1900 and 1908 Sanborn maps show a brick building where a frame building once stood. The 1905 directory subsequently listed Frederick W. Kroll as proprietor of Kroll's Drug Store at 64 Shelden Ave. (5). The 1908 Sanborn map shows that this change in address was due to re-numbering of the street.

Sanborn map, Shelden Ave., Houghton - Aug 1893
Sanborn map - Aug 1893
Sanborn map, Shelden Ave., Houghton - Feb 1908
Sanborn map - Feb 1908

In the 1916 directory, Fredrick was listed as proprietor and his son, Walter L. Kroll was listed as pharmacist (6,12). Fredrick was still listed in the 1921 directory as a druggist (7). He then died on 16 Feb 1930 as a retired druggist and was buried in Forest Hill Cemetery, Houghton (8). Kroll's Drug Store continued on, though, with Walter listed in the 1930 and 1939 directories (10,11).

Houghton County Plat Book - 1911
Plat Book ad - 1911

The one Kroll bottle has an Eastlake Oval shape with D. F. & CO. within a sunburst as a maker's mark. This is the mark of Dean, Foster & Co., and it dates to c.1894-c.1911 (9). Given the long history of Kroll's drug store, we are not able to further narrow down this date range.

References

  1. anonymous. 1883. History of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The Western Historical Company. Chicago, IL.
  2. U.S. Census Bureau. 1880 United States Federal Census. accessed on ancestry.com.
  3. Holland, A. H. 1887. 1887-8 Hand-book and Guide to Houghton, Mich. Mining Journal Book and Job Print. Marquette, MI.
  4. R. L. Polk & Co. 1895. Houghton County Directory 1895-96. R. L. Polk & Co., Publishers. Detroit, MI.
  5. R. L. Polk & Co. 1905. Houghton County Directory 1905-06. R. L. Polk & Co., Publishers. Detroit, MI.
  6. R. L. Polk & Co. 1916. Houghton County Directory 1916-17. R. L. Polk & Co., Publishers. Detroit, MI.
  7. R. L. Polk & Co. 1921. Michigan State Gazetteer and Business Directory for 1921-1922. R. L. Polk & Co. Detroit, MI.
  8. Michigan Department of Community Health, Division for Vital Records and Health Statistics; Lansing, Michigan; Death Records (accessed on ancestry.com).
  9. Lockhart, B., B. Schriever, B. Lindsey, and C. Serr. 2015. The Dean and Foster companies. In: Encyclopedia of Manufacturer's Marks on Historic Bottles. posted on Historic Glass Bottle Identification & Information Website. https://sha.org/bottle/pdffiles/DeanFoster.pdf
  10. R. L. Polk & Co. 1930. Polk’s Houghton (Michigan) Directory 1930. R. L. Polk & Co., Publishers. Detroit, MI.
  11. R. L. Polk & Co. 1939. Polk’s Houghton (Michigan) Directory 1939. R. L. Polk & Co., Publishers. Detroit, MI.
  12. U.S. Census Bureau. 1900 United States Federal Census. accessed on ancestry.com.
  13. anonymous. (1888, Aug 23). Dissolution Notice. Portage Lake Mining Gazette (Houghton, MI). p. 3.
  14. R. L. Polk & Co. 1891. Michigan State Gazetteer and Business Directory 1891-92. R. L. Polk & Co. Detroit, MI.
  15. anonymous. (1899, May 16). untitled. The Native Copper Times. p. 3.
  16. R. L. Polk & Co. 1889. Michigan State Gazetteer and Business Directory 1889-90. R. L. Polk & Co. Detroit, MI.
  17. anonymous. (1889, Sep 26). Local Jottings. Portage Lake Mining Gazette (Houghton, MI). p. 3.
  18. anonymous. (1889, Oct 03). Local Jottings. Portage Lake Mining Gazette (Houghton, MI). p. 3.
  19. anonymous. (1890, May 01). About Portage Lake. Portage Lake Mining Gazette (Houghton, MI). p. 3.
  20. anonymous. (1890, May 06). untitled. Torch Lake Times (Lake Linden, MI). p. 3.
  21. anonymous. (1890, May 08). About Portage Lake. Portage Lake Mining Gazette (Houghton, MI). p. 3.
  22. anonymous. (1890, Sep 11). About Portage Lake. Portage Lake Mining Gazette (Houghton, MI). p. 3.
  23. anonymous. (1890, Oct 02). About Portage Lake. Portage Lake Mining Gazette (Houghton, MI). p. 3.
  24. anonymous. (1890, Dec 11). About Portage Lake. Portage Lake Mining Gazette (Houghton, MI). p. 1.
  25. anonymous. (1891, Jan 22). About Portage Lake. Portage Lake Mining Gazette (Houghton, MI). p. 3.
  26. anonymous. (1899, Apr 10). Portage Lake News. The Copper Country Evening News (Calumet, MI). p. 3.
  27. anonymous. (1899, Jun 10). Portage Lake News. The Copper Country Evening News (Calumet, MI). p. 3.
  28. anonymous. (1899, Nov 14). Moving Into His New Store. The Daily Mining Gazette (Houghton, MI). p. 8.

3
Fred W. Kroll Druggist bottle
3 oz
color: colorless
top: cork top - tooled
base outline: base shape G
date: c.1894-c.1911
capacity - base mark - rarity:
3 oz. - D. F. & CO. - extremely rare
  • capacity marked above plate