Thursday, 23 September 2021 19:40

McDivitt’s drug store

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A delivery truck for McDivitt's decorated for Halloween

Yesterday I sat down with our photograph collection (even I need a break from old books), and scanned a collection that came to the Historical Society in 1988 from John and Martha Shinn. The photographs feature Hooven Rutty of Norristown and his family. Hooven worked at McDivitt’s Drug Store on Main Street for most of his working life.


Hooven behind the counter

Joseph McDivitt began his drug business in 1909. He first appears in the 1910-1912 Boyd’s City Directory as a seller of patent medicines at 315 DeKalb St. in Norristown.  According to his obituary in the Norristown Times-Herald, the business grew quickly, and he moved to a larger space around 1916.  That location, 75 E. Main Street, was gutted by fire in 1926.  


Norristown, c. 1920, showing a sign for McDivitt's Cut Rate Store

McDivitt worked out of a space in the new completed Valley Forge Hotel before moving to 7 W. Main St. where the business would remain until the 1970's.


Joseph McDivitt

Joseph McDivitt died in 1938, but it looks like his widow, Esther, continued to own the store hiring other managers to run it. Later, in the 1960’s the store passed to new owners.


Hooven B. Rutty shaking hands with Esther McDivitt

Hooven B. Rutty was born in Norristown in 1880. He married Hannah Shinn in 1921. He was already working at McDivitt’s by that point. Hooven worked for the drug store from the 1910’s until he retired, probably around 1960.


Hooven as a young man

 In the 1970’s the name changed to Quality Drug Store, but soon after that it disappears from the directories.

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