: doubles as soda-fountain, bar, and meeting
Oh, yes. I meant to tell you about that. In the 19th century, American pharmacists obviously felt that selling medications was not sufficient for their businesses to be profitable. They started selling "tonics" and the like, which had a great deal of alcohol, and sometimes truly shocking (by today's standards) drugs, such as cocaine and heroin. Then, in the late 19th century, carbon dioxide tanks were invented, and actual soda fountain drinks soon followed. For about 80 years, until the early Sixties, basically every pharmacy had a soda fountain. I can just barely remember them from my childhood. Canned drinks basically ran the soda fountain out of business (or so I understand). At the time of the novel, alcoholic drinks and ice cream sodas were being sold side by side in the pharmacy. Shortly after the book ends, Prohibition was voted in. Then only pharmacies could legally sell alcohol (with a prescription, of course). Kind of like medical marijuana today. BTW, when a character orders "dope" in the novel, they're ordering a Coke. I wonder if this is a consequence of the days when Coke contained cocaine.
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