UA museum keeps Winslow history churning

The Winslow Drug store is long gone, but a piece of it lives on at the History of Pharmacy Museum at the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy. The museum contains more than 60,000 bottles, original drug containers, books, store fixtures and artifacts from Arizona, circa 1880 to 1950, including several large drug store fixtures from Arizona’s territorial days.

One of those fixtures is from Winslow Drug. Before the store closed its doors forever, the owners donated a10-gallon ice cream machine. It now rests in the lobby of the museum.

Curator Richard Wiedhopf said the machine draws a lot of attention in part because of its connection with another part of Arizona history.

“They used to make ice cream in the morning and take it along Route 66 and distribute it to little stands in the ‘30s and ‘40s and ‘50s as people traveled along 66 during the summers,” he said.

The museum has used the ice cream maker several times over the years. Although the machine can be adapted to fit a motor, Wiedhopf said they chose to do it the old fashioned way.

“There’s just something about hand cranking that just seems to be more natural,” he said. “It took a lot of cranking.”

The machine, like so many things from the past, was not designed for space efficiency. It’s about 5-feet tall and sits on a 4-foot stand.

The museum contains other remnants from Winslow Drug. Black and yellow tiles used to decorate the soda fountain. By the early 1980s, the tiles were collecting dust in the basement of the old building.

“So we recreated the pattern in the display we have,” he said. “They’re thick and about 6-inches square and we brought them all by a U-Haul.”

Many of the tiles were used in the floor work separating the prescription counter from the game counter in the museum. The tile work was not uncommon as a back splash in drug store soda fountains of the day.

Wiedhopf called the Winslow Drug store a “classic.”

The museum has a few other items from Winslow, but none as distinctive as the ice cream machine and tiles.

The museum opened in 1966 on the main campus and moved to the current College of Pharmacy Building at the Arizona Health Sciences Center in 1982.


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