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ORANGE COUNTY FOCUS

History : WESTMINSTER : First Drugstore in County to Relocate

May 31, 1993|ANDREA HEIMAN

A tiny historical monument tucked in a corner of Heritage Park offers more than its simple exterior might suggest.

The McCoy-Hare House, an Orange County Historical Landmark and the first drugstore in Westminster, is one of only two fully restored turn-of-the-century drugstores in California.

It is also the oldest building in the city and was office to Mattie McCoy, one of Westminster's early settlers, as well as the home of Marie Hare, a turn-of-the century educator.

The home was moved in 1976 from its original location on Westminster Avenue to Heritage Park on Beach Boulevard and Hazard Avenue. The house will relocate again soon to Blakey Historical Park, where it will join other Westminster landmarks.

One room has been re-created as an old-fashioned parlor, while the other contains authentic pharmaceutical memorabilia, including glass medicine bottles with cork stoppers, homemade soap, and large glass containers, most of them now empty--except for one containing castor oil.

McCoy was the city's first pharmacist. She was the sister of Dr. James McCoy, who was invited to serve as Westminster's physician in the 1870s by the city's founder, the Rev. L.P. Webber.

"I don't think women were normally educated to that degree in the turn-of-the-century," said Joy Neugebauer, the Historical Society president. "I say, 'Hooray Mattie!' "

In 1912 the drugstore became the home of Marie and Orel Hare. Orel was the town blacksmith, while Marie taught school in the Alamitos School District. The Marie L. Hare Intermediate School in Garden Grove was named for her. The house also contains scrapbooks of Hare's notes, letters and mementos of her trips across the country.

The McCoy-Hare House has been preserved as a joint project of the Historical Society, the Westminster Bicentennial Committee and the city. For tour information, call the Westminster Museum at (714) 891-2597 or Neugebauer at (714) 893-0134.

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