Octagon House Museum • Hudson Wisconsin

Hudson Druggist Ernest E. Gatchell

Corner Drug GatchellThe southeast corner of Second and Locust Streets has a long history as a drug store. First to occupy the site was Dr. William F. Cavin, an early Hudson physician, who dispensed prescriptions and medicines in conjunction with his practice. Dr. Cavin was succeeded in the drug dispensing business by Carl Peterson, then a Mr. Hathaway and eventually, in 1878, by John “Sleeper” Jefferson.

In 1883 Ernest E. Gatchell came to Hudson to work as an assistant to John Johnson at the Johnson’s Drug Store. His salary was $50 a month, and while working there it was his job to sleep in the back room of the shop at night to answer frequent calls.

Ernest E GatchellGatchell was born in Ravenna, Ohio on May 11, 1860, the son of Dr. and Mrs. Horatio Page Gatchell. When only three, Dr. Gatchell moved with his family to Kenosha, Wisconsin. Considered Hudson’s first professional druggist, Gatchell graduated from the University of Michigan in 1881 as a pharmaceutical chemist.

In 1888 Gatchell bought out the interest of Johnson and by 1891 he became the owner and renamed it the Corner Drug Store.

The old 1860’s wooden building was razed in 1903 to make way for a two-story brick building. The new Corner Drug Store was built by Peter Kircher at a cost of about $10,000.

Gatchell was a bit of an eccentric, but a very generous man. He never married, however, all the children in town were his family. He took pride in the fact that all the children knew him and called him by his nickname “Gatch.”

Gatchell and Mr. Slaughter (who owned the Central Lumber Company) made arrangements with the Post Office to receive the Christmas letters that were mailed to Santa. They would answer the letters and made sure that the poor children would receive what they asked for from Santa.

Gatchell was devotion to the Masonic lodge and for years upon end he gave generously of his time and money to it.

In 1906 Gatchell took Henry Micklesen as a partner and the name was changed to Gatchell & Micklesen Drug Store. Micklesen became the sole owner after Gatchell’s death in 1933 and the store continues today as Micklesen’s Drug Store.

Source: Hudson Star Times, 20 Mar 1903, p1
Source: Hudson Tales Retold, Willis Miller, 1992
Source: A Reference to Some Hudson Area Businesses, Buildings, Events & Landmarks, Nancy Hawkinson, 11/1/2014

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