Eckels Drug Store

Eckels Drug Store & Museum
36 East Main Street
Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania

This post features two of my favorite things: a vintage business and a movie location … all in one!

Eckles Drug Store is a real vintage treat! Though it’s no longer an operating pharmacy, current owner Barbara Marbain (a granddaughter of Dr. George Eckels) proudly maintains the store as an ice cream/sandwich shop, gift store, and pharmaceutical museum. Eckels is closed during the winter and maintains varying hours from season to season … so check their website (link at the end of this post) before planning your visit. Consider stopping by on a Friday evening to enjoy live music!

People in the Mechanicsburg area have treasured the store for well over a century. Pharmacist Walter Eckels and his brother Dr. George Morris Eckels opened Eckels Drug Store in 1879. Mabelle, Dr. Eckels’ daughter (herself a licensed pharmacist), took over the store in 1929.

The 1929 soda fountain spigots are still in working order!

Check out Angelina Jolie (as Lisa) confusing the soda jerk in a scene from Girl, Interrupted below. You’ll also catch Winona Ryder, Whoopi Goldberg, Brittany Murphy (so sad that she’s gone), KaDee Strickland, Mary Kay Place, Clea Duvall (a seriously under-used actress IMO), Elizabeth Moss, and more … when you see Eckels in person; you’ll wonder how everyone fit into the room + lighting and cameras!

Note:The signage on the front of the store was created for the movie. The snow was also created for the movie … it was cold when they filmed but the majority of the snow in this scene was man-made. warning: Some language in the video not safe for work (or little ears).

I took these photos late in the afternoon last September. I wish I had picked a different time of the day to visit because I couldn’t seem to lose the reflections in the windows.

I inadvertently captured the reflection of The Washington Fire Company (which you can also see in the beginning of the scene above).  Oh, and “Bruiser my Cruiser” is hiding in that reflection as well 🙂

The small museum in the back of the store features pharmaceutical packaging dating back to the late 1800s, family photos, and a wide assortment of ephemera. There are also clippings, posters, and other artifacts from the filming of Girl, Interrupted.

I have some additional “GI” filming locations to add to the site later … so stay tuned!

I find Mabelle’s story particularly fascinating. I’m sure that there weren’t many female pharmacists running their own businesses in the early part of the last century. Seeing her diploma and various other credentials (in the gallery at the end of this post) made me smile.

From the display card:Prescriptions from the late 1800s.
Drugstore owners would string them together with twine or wire and place them in their window as an advertisement. They of course wanted to let perspective customers know they had filled many prescriptions successfully. (
Ahhhh, the days before HIPAA)

 

–  Eckels Drug Store Online

–  Girl, Interrupted on IMDB