Editor's note: This is the 99th in a series of articles recalling vanished Huntington landmarks.
HUNTINGTON - Today the old building at 703 7th Ave is home to the Cabell-Huntington Health Department, but for more than 50 years it housed a pharmaceutical warehouse.
In 1914, W.S. Vinson of Huntington and Walter C. Price of Charleston organized the Huntington Drug Co., a wholesale pharmaceutical firm. Both men were well-known local pharmacists. Initially the fledgling business was located at 216 8th St., but about 1920 the two owners moved their company to the corner or 7th Avenue and 7th Street where they built a sturdy four-story brick structure that still stands today.
In 1929, Vinson and Price sold their business to the McKesson & Robbins Drug Co. Known today as simply McKesson, a Fortune 500 company, the giant pharmaceutical firm began in New York in 1933 when John McKesson and Charles Olcott began importing drugs and chemicals and selling them wholesale. Twenty years later, the New York-based company was renamed McKesson & Robbins when Daniel Robbins because a partner.
Beginning in 1929, McKesson & Robbins used its Huntington warehouse and a fleet of delivery trucks to distribute wholesale prescription drugs and sundries to independent drugstores in West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky.
In 1987, McKesson & Robbins announced it was closing the Huntington warehouse, deeming it too small to continue operating efficiently. The closure rendered 20 employees jobless.
In 2005, the former warehouse became the new home of the Cabell-Huntington Health Department when the department's previous building on Hal Greer Boulevard was demolished to make way for an expansion at Cabell Huntington Hospital.
The Health Department's name is now displayed over the building's 7th Avenue entrance. But the McKesson & Robbins name can still be faintly seen atop the structure's back wall.
To read more articles from this series, go to www.herald-dispatch.com. Click on "News," then "Lost Huntington" series.