Freel And Mason Drug Co.
Founding of the Business
After Freel and Mason, the next owner of Freel and Mason Drug Co. was Courtney B. McDonough, or “Mr. Mac” as he was called. Courtney McDonough was born in Upland, Indiana, but grew up in Marion. He always considered Upland his hometown. The day after he graduated from Purdue University’s School of Pharmacy, in April of 1906, he began work at Freel and Mason. McDonough worked at the store for 15 years before he was finally made partner. After seven years as a partner, McDonough was made the sole owner of Freel and Mason Drug Co. From 1928 up until 1944, he was sole owner and made all decisions by himself.
After he was sole owner, McDonough stayed associated with the business and became part owner when his nephew, Lester Metcalf, joined him. (Freel and Mason stronger). After 59 years of service and association with Freel and Mason, Courtney McDonough died at Marion General Hospital at 7:05 A.M., on Friday, June 27, 1969. The pharmacists that knew him estimated that McDonough had filled nearly 500,000 prescriptions in his career and he was named “Pharmacist of the Year” in 1962 by the Indiana Pharmaceutical Association. In his private life, McDonough was a member of the First United Methodist Church, and also an honorary member to the church’s board. He was a member Grant County and Indiana Pharmaceutical Associations, the Lions Club of Marion, the Travelers’ Protective Association, the Grant County Historical Society, and the Knights of Phythias Lodge. He had one son who grew up to be a pharmacist in Gas City, Indiana and one daughter. His wife preceded him in death. (Chronicle Obituary)
The store changed much from what it used to be in the earlier years. When it first started out, not only did it carry prescription medicines, but it also carried toys, animal feed, and even featured a soda fountain. You could eat lunch at the fountain or simply get an ice cream. (Moving after 81 years) A lot of the business to the soda fountain was lost when the city hall and police station relocated further away from Freel and Mason. (Getting the scoop) The business also changed in a major way due to growth. It used to depend on people walking in to fill prescriptions. Since the doctors’ offices have moved from the courthouse, not many people use Freel and Mason to fill prescriptions.
After eighty-one years of business in the Marion square, the owners of Freel and Mason decided to move to a new location, 4735 South Harmon Street. This location is in the Wesleyan Retirement Center. The new facility was 5,500 square feet, which is roughly 3.5 times bigger than the original location. It now depends on nursing homes and other long-term care facilities for its business. The company began distributing medicine to, at one time, 16 nursing homes as far as Ohio. Freel and Mason changed drastically from the humble beginnings in which it started.
Freel and Mason was a large part of the history of Marion, Indiana and one of the premier suppliers of medical supplies in the city and Grant County. Without it, people would have had to go out of their way to fill prescriptions, shop for things they need, or even to eat a meal. Freel and Mason represents more than just a pharmacy. It represents the simplicity of the way society used to be. Freel and Mason served the community well and is an often-overlooked landmark in the historically rich city of Marion, Indiana.
This article was written by Josh Stanley during Spring 2007 for Mr. Munn's AP US History Class at Marion High School.