14th St NW & U St NW

This historic corner was home to several important businesses. In 1916, this branch of the People's Drugstore opened. Founded in 1905 by Malcolm Gibbs, this chain of drugstores was part of the transformation of the apothecary focused solely on fulfilling prescriptions, to a new kind of enterprise which sold sundry goods at discount prices. It's storefronts were carefully designed to showcase its goods and the ubiquitous soda fountain at People's from the 1920s to 1950s made it part of iconic Americana. During the 1968 riots, Stokely Carmichael had requested the store to close and though they complied, grief-stricken protesters eventually did not heed Carmichael's calls for peace and attacked the store. By the 1980s DC's drugstore chains were ailing and unable to compete with the new national chains like CVS which would replace them. The C&P company hired African-Americans for white collar jobs in January 1943 due to labor shortages during WW II, but telephone operator positions remained racially segregated until 1974.

People's Drug Store, circa 1919-20
People's Drug Store, circa 1919-20

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Ad for Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Company
Ad for Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Company

Courtesy of George Washington Special Collections

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Policeman guarding the People's Drugstore during the 1968 riots
Policeman guarding the People's Drugstore during the 1968 riots

Courtesy of George Washington Special Collections

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People's Drug Store, circa 1919-20
People's Drug Store, circa 1919-20

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