In researching the history of the Arapahoe Pharmacy, we were curious to see what types of businesses were operated on that site. The lot on which the store now stands probably had a wooden structure erected on it by late 1878 or early 1879. The abstract shows the conveyance of 320 acres from the United States to E.B. Murphy for the purpose of establishing a town (10-7-1873). After subdividing the town and several title transfers on the lot to various founding town fathers, Elizabeth and Lewis Clute acquired the property (And most probably the rest of the block to the South and some lots across the street to the east of the building that now houses the Arapahoe Senior Center). Histories written by John Stevens and others indicate that the Clutes had various businesses including a hotel (on the site of the present Senior Center), a livery (on the site of the present bakery and bowling alley), and a dry goods/hardware & harness store (on the site of the present pharmacy and theater). The Clutes were some of the more successful early residents of Arapahoe. They also owned several wagons and had their own freighting business.
They were very wealthy for those times but this was not to last. Business began to decline in 1885 and a depression had set in by 1886 because of drought and subsequent crop failures. Many people abandoned their homes in town and farms in the rural areas and left the area. People were unable to pay their accounts with the Clutes and eventually the stores and hotel were closed and the space was rented or sold to others. The abstract indicated at one time a mortgage contract to Swafford Brothers Dry Goods in the early 1890s on the present drug store property. The hotel on the street level was subdivided and leased or sold to individuals who operated various businesses. Elizabeth Clute was later shown as the property owner after foreclosing on Swafford Brothers who presumably were unable to sustain their business (July 27, 1898). A fire broke out in a storeroom of the hotel in Sept. of 1898 and destroyed the Clute Hotel, the present theater, and pharmacy. The fire wiped out the assets of the Clutes, and these parcels were purchased by Joseph Einstein and William Helmann. Joseph Einstein built the brick structure that is presently the Arapahoe Senior Center, and Helmann built the structure that now houses the Crystal Theatre and Arapahoe Pharmacy. The building constructed by Einstein probably had a large mercantile business on the main floor and an opera house on the 2nd floor. It has been recorded that Einstein was as shrewd at booking and marketing events at the opera house as he was at making money in his business, in the face of economic adversity, and became very successful in Arapahoe. William Helmann built the present theater/pharmacy building most probably as an investment as he was engaged in the Lumber business with his brother, Charles, who was a carpenter. In the early years of Arapahoe there were as many as 4 pharmacies. Dean & Heistand drugs offered services inclusive of drugs, medicines, paints, oils, and glass. Rowley & Co. Druggists were listed in early newspapers and had an address on "Lower Nebraska Ave." Another pharmacist listed was E.W. Walker. A fourth pharmacy was Reynolds Drug Store which I think was located on the site of the previous Magorian Sundry Store (The South side of Stagemeyer Furniture). In addition to these stores, there were many physicians. Many of these physicians dispensed their own medications. Among them were a Dr. Brevoort and Dr. J.A. Gunn. By the Fall of 1899 the number of drugstores had dwindled to two. These were the Reynolds Drug Store and a store opened in September of 1899 by R.H. Bellamy in the north half of the new Helmann Building--the present site of the Arapahoe Pharmacy. This Bellamy is apparently not related to the Jack Bellamy family that lives in Arapahoe, according to Harriet McCormick of Elwood (Jack's sister and family historian). We still have on file nearly every prescription filled at this site and, from these records, were able to determine when each successive pharmacist came to Arapahoe. Bellamy stayed until 1911 when Frederick Franklin Ware came and operated as Ware's Drug and Jewelry Store until 1919. (Ware's son, Fred, became a well-known state editor and sports columnist for the Omaha World-Herald. His grandson, Dr. Fred Ware, became chief of staff at Clarkson Hospital in Omaha). The next proprietor was a jewish pharmacist named Ben Newrock who stayed 7 years until selling the business to O.A. Dick in 1926. Dick operated the business as Dick's Drug Store until 1935. The Dicks relocated to Lyons, Colorado, and were joined later by their 2nd son, Victor. Victor graduated from Arapahoe in 1932 and taught school while attending Kearney State College. After arriving in Colorado, he worked for United Airlines and eventually became a mechanical supervisor. Dick's other sons were Tyrone and Paul. Paul was married to Arapahoean Beryl Cawthra and was a presbyterian minister.
Floyd Morris purchased the inventory and fixtures on September 15th, 1935, for an asking price of $4200.00. Floyd's father was able to extend a personal loan of $5000.00 for him to purchase a pharmacy business. All of these pharmacists rented the building from descendants of William Helmann until 1944 when Floyd Morris was given to opportunity to purchase it from Lulu Quivey (daughter of Helmann) for $1700.00.
Floyd looked in several Nebraska communities before deciding to purchase the Arapahoe Pharmacy. The store in Clarkson had an asking price of $5500 and had profited 317.51 in the previous year. The store at Snyder was priced at $4300 and had recorded a net profit of $216.39. Scribner, Nebraska, had a store for sale for $5000. It had lost $251.91 in the previous year. The store in Plainview was priced at $6500 and its owner had recorded an income of $1021.71.Records show that on Floyd's first day of business the sales were $4.50. The store ledgers show operating losses for several months since Floyd was faced with building up inventory with little capital. Total sales in 1936 were $8,050.92 and profit for that year was $74.07. These were difficult economic times for everyone but conditions gradually improved and eventually the store was remodeled in the mid-1940's to move the foundation to the back of the store and converting the shelving to self-service. In 1953, the plate-glass front and aluminum awning were added thus giving the store the appearance that you see today. Morris Drug Store the appearance that you see today. Morris Drug Store enjoys the distinction of being the business with the longest tenure under one proprietorship in the community as Floyd Morris owned and operated the store for 50 years.
In 1985, John and Ingrid Tangeman (Floyd's daughter and son-in-law) purchased the store. They are pleased to continue to serve the community with time-honored traditions and pharmaceutical services.