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A Flatbush Pharmacy

By Cecily Dyer

Posted on April 9, 2020

Interior of Cutler's Drug Store
Interior of Cutler's Drug Store Interior of Cutler's Drug Store, 1887, V1972.1.587; Early Brooklyn and Long Island photograph collection; Brooklyn Historical Society.

This week we are honoring all those employed in pharmacies who continue to work throughout the pandemic, ensuring that New Yorkers can obtain the medications they need.  We thank you!

George E. Cutler was born in 1842 in Massachusetts, where, after serving in the Navy and fighting in the Civil War, he studied pharmaceutics, boarding and working at an apothecary in his hometown. By the 1870s, he had moved to Brooklyn, and a reference in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle refers to “George E. Cutler, Apothecary,” on the U.S. Ironclad Roanoke in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Within a few years, he was living on DeKalb Avenue between Bedford and Nostrand in a house owned by recently-widowed Eunice Meigs and her daughter, Elizabeth.

George decamped to Flatbush in 1879 and established Flatbush Central Pharmacy on the corner of Flatbush and Church Avenues, near Erasmus Hall and just opposite the old Dutch Reformed Church. Four years later, Eunice and Elizabeth joined him there and he and Elizabeth, 40, were married. All lived above the pharmacy, along with other employees who came and went.

The image above shows George standing to the right—“with whiskers,” as noted on the back of the photograph. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle described him as “a genial, kind hearted man, who was liked by everyone who came in contact with him”.

BHS has four photographs of the pharmacy that can be viewed by searching for “cutler’s pharmacy” here in our online image gallery, but unfortunately, none show Elizabeth. After George died in 1896, Elizabeth continued to run the pharmacy on her own for another 20 years and is listed in historic records as a druggist. She was 73 when she finally closed the business, and on April 30, 1917, the contents of the store—including medicines, toiletries, an “Elegant Large Soda Fountain,” and more—were sold in a public auction.

Interested in seeing more photos from BHS’s collection? Visit our online image gallery, which includes a selection of our images. We look forward inviting you back to BHS in the future to research in our entire collection of images, archives, maps, and special collections. In the meantime, you can use our Remote Research Guide to get started. Our reference staff are still available to help with your research! You can reach us at [email protected]

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