November – 2015 – Magnolias Online
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November 2015

Nov. 8th 85 Years ago

I bet It was amazing! Can you imagine this sight… a sparkling new building, just recently rebuilt. All the modern amenities are featured within the new Boyden Pharmacy on opening day, November 8th, 1930! Here is an excerpt from the article in the Norfolk Daily News the day before.
   “When the new Boyden Pharmacy is formally opened here at 10 o’clock Saturday morning, the most modern and completely equipped drug store in Nebraska will begin serving the public. Located in the new Koehn building at 430 Norfolk Ave, the Boyden store occupies a room 21 by 72 feet in size, giving it floor space of over 1500 square feet.”
   “The store is attractively furnished and decorated, the upper part of the walls being tinted a delicate green shade which exactly matches the vitrolite which surmounts the front and rear counters of the fountain. The fixtures are of American walnut throughout.” So what is vitrolite I wondered? I found this color chart, (thank you Google)

and yes, we’ve uncovered a fabulous minty green paint color, still shown here in the corner of the front entry! It turns out Vitrolite is an opaque structural glass panel that was a perfect for food service. 

And as for the pharmacy counters of walnut?  Well, we have one! Yes, in the back of the store was a crusty old counter, covered in layers of paint, with many small drawers. I dropped it off for restoration and confirmed it’s walnut! Inside a drawer we found a label – Boyden Pharmacy. And, with a pocket knife revealed that the little circle discs under all that paint are fabulous little brass number plackets, labeling each drawer. I’m so excited to restore this piece and add it to the store’s display!  

Boydens  sounds like a terrific place anyone would love to visit. Here is more from the paper.- ” Thefountain itself is thirty feet long. Fifteen comfortable stools have been placed on raisedplatforms which borders it and booths in the store will provide accommodations for serving lunches or fountain delicacies to seventy-two more persons at one time…” “The fountain and luncheon service is one of the features of the Boyden Pharmacy, specializing in its own ice cream which will be made in the store.” Not a bad idea, I could put the soda fountain back in! Well, maybe I will stick to what I know. It seems Mr H.B  Boyden himself was doing just that. He was from Grand Island and I believe owned a Pharmacy there. Earlier, in August of 1930, he opened another in Lincoln followed by this Norfolk location. Popping up as fast as Walgreens almost! Maybe ice cream was his secret weapon for success.
   Alongside the article about the new store was another titled “Boyden Ice Cream is made in Store.” It reads: – “Pure and wholesome ice cream manufactured by the Boyden Pharmacy right in its own store, will be one of the features of the new store which will be formally opened Saturday morning at 10 o’clock. The ice cream will be made with new and strictly modern equipment which has been installed in one of the front windows of the establishment- where everyone may watch the process and witness the fact that it is made in a pure and sanitary manner.” Wouldn’t I love to get my hands on that photo! Someone had to have taken one! It’s a great little tidbit about our new building, don’t you think? I just love to stand in that very same space and imagine how wonderful this place would seem now. I’m excited we have a counter and even uncovered the original one tiles that greeted you at the entry – shown here!



As the charm of a downtown community continues to expand and evolve in our very own city of Norfolk, I am honored to take a piece of this property and restore the beauty and charm. With other downtown projects underway, you’ll witness what I believe is history coming full circle. Our desire is to once again experience quaint businesses in old buildings with character, owned and operated by entrepreneurs who are our friends and neighbors. This is what we want to embrace now. I’m proud to be part of a trend that I hope will grow and snowball into a tremendous draw for the city of Norfolk. A downtown on the Riverfront with diversity, creativity, character and resources everyone will enjoy for generations to come. We look forward to next year revealing our space as the New Magnolias! Who knows, maybe I’ll serve ice cream!

– Amy

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If you have photos or historical info about our building, especially the SODA FOUNTAIN or ICE-CREAM machine- please send them our way! We would love to share them with everyone!  Send to: