Monday, November 12, 2012

Best Buy/Hartman Pharmacy


Best Buy Drug is the location of what the Sierra Madre Vistas (1976) referred to as the "Oldest Business House."  The Hartman Rexall Pharmacy was opened in 1911 by Franklin H. Hartman.  Mr. Hartman had previously visited our area, and loved California's climate, so he bought the store (one year old), from W.E. Bechtelheimer.  It had been across the street at that time, and about one year later, upon the opening of the Kersting Block, Mr. Hartman moved the store to its present location. 

Mr. Hartman had a son by the name of Rudolph, who was born in 1895 and spent his teen years interning in the store.  "Rudy" graduated from the USC School of Pharmacy in 1916, and ultimately took over the store upon his father's retirement in 1937. 

Rudy was a vital and important member of our community.  He grew up enjoying airplanes, and even built his own glider, getting friends to give him a push down Baldwin to get it going.  He had an extensive photographic collection, which was a source of information for the Historical Society.  In 1970, the Chamber of Commerce named Rudolph Hartman as Sierra Madre Citizen of the Year.  According to an L.A. Times article from 1986, Rudolph Hartman suffered a stroke in 1986, and at that time was living in our own Skilled Nursing Facility. Mr. Hartman passed away in 1988.

Rudy Hartman had been active in the business until 1977, and sold out to his competitor in 1980.  In 1986, the Hartman-Rexall Pharmacy was purchased by Best Buy Drugs which had been located on Sierra Madre Blvd.  Best Buy then closed their location on Sierra Madre, and moved into the Hartman Pharmacy location on Baldwin.  In 1995, brothers Paul and Joseph Mansour purchased Best Buy, and the store celebrated its 100th birthday in 2010.



9 comments:

  1. that's pretty impressive, 100 year old pharmacy!

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    1. I think so, too! I didn't even know it was that old, until I started doing research.

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  2. I agree with Tanya, 100 year old pharmacies are thin on the ground! This one's got such rich history.

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    1. It sure does! So much more about Mr. Hartman, that I didn't put in here. Will have to do a second post, at some point...

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  3. I am starting to feel that every building in Sierra Madre has an important historical story or event attached to it. I am impressed with what I have learned so far! Thank you, Adele. (Can't say I will remember everything, but at least I know where to go to look if I get stuck :)).

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    1. You know, Lauren, I'm starting to think so too! I can't believe all the stuff there is to find here. I hope that's true, so I don't run out of things to post about.

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    2. I am sure there is no danger of that, Adele :).

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  4. Adele, it amazes me how you find these personal histories. You're like a detective or something!

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    1. Thanks, Petrea! I'm loving this aspect of it. Detective. I like the sound of that! :)

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