Length of Video: 5 minutes
In 1936, Chicago-based Walgreens Drug Store purchased the Tatum building property with the intention of constructing the largest store in their chain of pharmacies. The building design called for a five-story, Streamline Modern structure that would include an 88-foot soda fountain, a candy kitchen, and an ice-cream plant. The climate on the interior of the building was controlled by a state-of-the-art cooling system at a time when air conditioning was rare in South Florida.
The store opened on October 2, 1937, as the company’s largest store. It featured a restaurant at the ground level called the Rail, and another on the second level called the Rim. The pharmacy was located in the basement and merchandise was located on the first floor. The Rim offered a retreat for those who wanted to sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee or a meal while others in their party would shop.
When the store opened on October 2nd there were over 35,000 patrons who visited the store, despite having only 300 employees working to accommodate the large influx of shoppers and sightseers. On that momentous day, there was a continuous line around the block of those who waited patiently to access Miami’s newest shopping sensation. The grand opening day represented a milestone in sales volume for Walgreen’s at the time the Miami location opened in 1937.
Click on the play button below to watch a narrated video on the history of the Walgreens Building on at 200 East Flagler Street from 1936 – 1995.
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- Images courtesy of HistoryMiami Museum, Miami Daily News, Miami-Dade Public Library, and the Romer Collection.
- Interior of Walgreens photo courtesy of Phillip Pessar.
- Introduction music was ‘The Pharmacist from Walgreens’ by Gregg Turner.