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17 Oct 2021, last revised 09 May 2022

from Sawyer (1911), A History of the Northern Peninsula of Michigan and its People
Dr. George W. Orr

Dr. G. W. Orr left us with one known pharmacy bottle in just one size. He spent most of his career as the physician-in-charge at the Lake Superior General Hospital in Lake Linden. But prior to the hospital, he apparently ran a drug store.

George William Orr was born in Walled Lake, MI on 18 Feb 1847 to parents who were born in Wyoming, Pennsylvania (1). He completed a degree in medicine from the University of Michigan in 1877, and then practiced for two years out of his own office in Pontiac, MI while also being the city physician (2). In the summer of 1879, he moved to Keweenaw County and worked as the physician and surgeon for the Central Mining Company until June 1885 (2). He then moved to Lake Linden and established his own practice (2). In 1889, he worked as the physician and surgeon for the Tamarack and Osceola Mills (2). In 1895, he built the Lake Superior General Hospital (2). In Feb 1897, the newspaper announced that the Lake Superior School for Nursing would soon be opening (9). It was established by local physicians and surgeons, including Dr. Orr, who served as secretary and treasurer (9). In 1911, Sawyer (2) praised Orr by stating:

In no other light than as a benefactor to humanity can be viewed Dr. George W. Orr, for the state is indebted to his efforts for the beautiful and commodious Lake Superior General Hospital...His judgment, executive ability and general efficiency make him an ornament to the profession.

The 1895 Polk directory listed Orr as the physician-in-charge of the Lake Linden Hospital on Calumet St. in Lake Linden with his residence being the same (3). The 1897 directory described the location of the Lake Superior General Hospital and Training School for Nurses as being on the southwest corner of Calumet St. and Beeley St. (4). (Beeley St. is now 11th St.) This area of Lake Linden was not surveyed by the Sanborn maps until 1917.

Sanborn map, Calumet St., Lake Linden - Oct 1917
Sanborn map - Oct 1917
Lake Superior General Hospital, Lake Linden<br>Courtesy of Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections, Copper Country Vertical File Photograph Collection, MTU Neg 05283
Lake Superior General Hospital

It seems that Orr remained at the hospital for the remainder of his career, up until his death. He was still listed as the physician-in-charge in the 1916 directory (5), and as a physician in the 1921 directory (6). He then died on 23 Jan 1922 at the age of 74 and was buried in Maple Hill Cemetery, Lake Linden (1).

So, when did Orr have a drug store? The Polk directories only listed him as a physician, not a druggist (11), so we turn to the newspaper for information. His drug store lasted for only a year during the time he was in private practice. In Oct 1887, he moved his office to the upstairs rooms in the Kettenbeil Block next to Hennes store on Calumet St. (13). It was then announced that he would be opening a drug store on Oct 1, 1888 in the Kettenbeil Block (14). The drug store was in the charge of J. Croley, an experienced and reliable druggist formerly of Lapeer City (15). In Aug 1889, Jere Croley left the store with the intent of returning to lower Michigan, and Adolph Ruhl Jr. succeeded him (12). Then, in the same month, the entire stock, counters, and fixtures of the drug store were sold to Shelden Bros. & Co. in Houghton, and they also secured Orr's prescription clerk, Adolph J. Ruhl of Hancock (10).

Newspaper ad - Torch Lake Times, 30 Oct 1888
Newspaper ad - Oct 1888
Newspaper ad - Torch Lake Times, 20 Aug 1889
Newspaper ad - Aug 1889

Orr's bottle has the maker's mark of an S in a diamond, which was probably used by Swindell Bros. and/or Chicago Glass Mfg. Co. (7,8). The uncertainty of this mark's attribution and the wide date range for Swindell Bros. do not provide much clarity on dating Orr's bottle. The bottle shape is called the Baltimore Oval. The three other Copper Country bottles with this shape date to the late 1880s to early 1890s. Thus, Orr's bottle fits within the time frame of him being in private practice.

References

  1. Michigan Department of Community Health, Division for Vital Records and Health Statistics; Lansing, Michigan; Death Records (accessed on ancestry.com).
  2. Sawyer, A. L. 1911. A History of the Northern Peninsula of Michigan and its People. The Lewis Publishing Company. Chicago, IL.
  3. R. L. Polk & Co. 1895. Houghton County Directory 1895-96. R. L. Polk & Co., Publishers. Detroit, MI.
  4. R. L. Polk & Co. 1897. Houghton County Directory 1897-98. R. L. Polk & Co., Publishers. Detroit, MI.
  5. R. L. Polk & Co. 1916. Houghton County Directory 1916-17. R. L. Polk & Co., Publishers. Detroit, MI.
  6. R. L. Polk & Co. 1921. Michigan State Gazetteer and Business Directory for 1921-1922. R. L. Polk & Co. Detroit, MI.
  7. Lockhart, B., B. Schriever, B. Lindsey, and C. Serr. 2019. Swindell Brothers, Baltimore, Maryland. In: Encyclopedia of Manufacturer's Marks on Historic Bottles. posted on Historic Glass Bottle Identification & Information Website. https://sha.org/bottle/pdffiles/SwindellBrothers.pdf
  8. Lockhart, B., P. Schulz, B. Schriever, C. Serr, and B. Lindsey. 2014. Chicago Glass Mfg. Co. In: Encyclopedia of Manufacturer's Marks on Historic Bottles. posted on Historic Glass Bottle Identification & Information Website. https://sha.org/bottle/pdffiles/ChicagoGlassMfg.pdf
  9. anonymous. (1897, Feb 3). A Long Felt Want: A School to be Opened for the Training of Nurses. The Copper Country Evening News (Calumet, MI). p. 8.
  10. anonymous. (1889, Aug 28). untitled. Portage Lake Mining Gazette (Houghton, MI). p. 3.
  11. R. L. Polk & Co. 1887. Michigan State Gazetteer and Business Directory 1887-88. R. L. Polk & Co. Detroit, MI.
  12. anonymous. (1889, Aug 02). Lake Linden Lines. The Calumet and Red Jacket News (Calumet, MI). p. 3.
  13. anonymous. (1887, Oct 25). untitled. Torch Lake Times (Lake Linden, MI). p. 3.
  14. anonymous. (1888, Sep 18). untitled. Torch Lake Times (Lake Linden, MI). p. 3.
  15. anonymous. (1888, Nov 06). untitled. Torch Lake Times (Lake Linden, MI). p. 3.

1
Dr. G. W. Orr bottle
1 oz
color: colorless
top: cork top - tooled
base outline: base shape M
date: 1885-1889
capacity - H x W - base mark - rarity:
1 oz. - 8.8 x 3.6 cm - s in diamond - extremely rare
  • capacity not marked on bottle