2013-03-29 / Community

Then and Now: Johnson’s Pharmacy

A Window on the Past
By Kathy DiPhilippo
South Portland Historical Society


The old Johnson’s Pharmacy building on Ocean Street in South Portland hasn’t changed much. Read this week’s A Window on the Past to find out what, exactly, has changed about the city’s skyline. (Courtesy photos) The old Johnson’s Pharmacy building on Ocean Street in South Portland hasn’t changed much. Read this week’s A Window on the Past to find out what, exactly, has changed about the city’s skyline. (Courtesy photos) The entire Knightville and Mill Creek area has undergone enormous change over the years, but in this week’s then-and-now view, we see that the Johnson’s Pharmacy building at 145 Ocean St. hasn’t changed all that much on the outside in all these years.

Thomas Johnson started the pharmacy back in the 1920s and his son, George, later took over the operation.

Dick Gorman remembers, “Mr. Johnson had a pinball machine in the store on the opposite wall from the soda fountain. Competition was ‘fierce’ but friendly.”

The business was in operation for nearly 45 years; the pharmacy closed in August 1965 after George Johnson died. One of the later long-running businesses in that building was Glenice’s Hair Fashions.

One big change in these two images is the Maine Paint Service building. That building was erected on the site of the parking lot of the former First National Store grocery. The First National building is now home to the On the Move Zumba studio.

Another difference in the two images is the smokestack that can be seen off in the distance, down Ocean Street. That was one of the two large smokestacks at the Cape Power Plant that was located just beside the Million Dollar Bridge.

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