HUNTINGTON — Time was, not so long ago, when many American neighborhoods had a small drug store within easy walking distance of local residents. Some neighborhoods even had two or more. Most are gone now, shuttered by relentless competition from the big drug chains, supermarket pharmacy counters and, of course, Walmart.
Besides filling prescriptions and selling over-the-counter medicines, they sold cigarettes and cigars, newspapers and magazines, comic books and many other things. Most had soda fountains, and some even had sandwich menus. But Humphreys’ Southside Pharmacy offered its customers something they couldn’t buy anywhere else in Huntington — tickets for Cincinnati Reds baseball games. In that pre-internet era, the Huntington drug store was the only licensed Reds ticket agency in West Virginia.
In 1948, after 19 years as manager of downtown’s Gallaher’s Drug Store, Harry D. “Pinkie” Humphreys opened his own pharmacy at 806 8th St. Long active in Republican politics, Humphreys was Cabell County sheriff from 1953 to 1957. He sold his pharmacy to Charles C. Cook in 1972. Later, Cook sold the business to Fruth Pharmacy, which closed it and hired Cook to work at its 125 7th Ave. location.
Andrew W. Fischer remembers Humphreys’ Southside Pharmacy well. As a young man, he worked there from 1978 to 1982. “I stocked the shelves and drove a used post office Jeep to make deliveries,” he recalls.
Fischer is a lifelong Reds fan. He and his wife, Karri, have installed an amazing collection of Reds memorabilia in the huge recreation room of their Huntington home. In 2018, the Reds Caravan heading to Charleston stopped off at the Fischer home so caravan members could check out the mini-museum.
A standout piece of the collection: a framed black-and-white seating chart of the team’s old Crosley Field that once hung on the wall at Humphreys’ Southside Pharmacy.