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Tales from a Townie: Hopkinton Drug building has interesting history

by | Apr 1, 2024 | Featured, Featured: Features

Osbourn’s 5 & 10 Cent Store

Among the past occupants of the building at the corner of Main Street and Cedar Street were Osbourn’s 5 & 10 Cent Store. The building most recently housed Hopkinton Drug and Hopkinton Card & Gift, which closed at the end of January.

I went to Hopkinton Drug on Jan. 31, the closing day for the store. I bought a couple of small items.

I sit here today, and my mind wanders back, back, back — 70 years, to be exact.

I was 13, going to eighth grade in the Town Hall building. Half of my class was going to school there. The town was building the new junior/senior high school, but it wouldn’t be done until 1956.

School was great at Town Hall. The hours were 8 a.m.-1 p.m. (no cafeteria). We had recess around 11 a.m. and could go to Brown & Smith for hot dogs, breakfast, ice cream and more.

On this day, one of the guys at school said, “The new drugstore at the bottom of the hill opens today, and the sign says, ‘Ice cream cones, two for a quarter.’ ” I said, “You can sign me up for that deal.” So, for recess, a bunch of us trekked down the hill and got our two ice cream cones. (Why get one each — who would pay the extra penny?)

Here’s how I remember the drugstore building and what has gone on in that area over the years.

In the drugstore on the east wall was a soda fountain with stools. In the building to the east was Osbourn’s 5 & 10 Cent Store, Gene’s Barber Shop and Don Hitching’s Taxi. Next door, to the east, was Wood’s Friendly Superette (grocery store), an old, large house set back with a large lawn in front, and the old Central House (a bar and package store with apartments above).

Behind the drugstore to the north was Hilditch’s Antique Barn and Auction House. That building burned down in the 1960s and became the present parking lot.

Osbourn’s 5 & 10 closed in the late 1960s, and the drugstore began to expand to the east, enveloping Gene’s and the taxi stand at a later date.

Next, Wood’s Superette and the big house were torn down, and a restaurant and parking lot were built. The restaurant started as the Village Barn, later the King’s Rook, and still later as the Sorrento Room and Sampson’s.

After the demise of the restaurants, Hopkinton Drug stretched further east, with that section becoming the gift shop and card store.

For a few years, Brigham’s Ice Cream took over the back northeast corner of the store.

Additions and renovations took place over the years.

A couple of interesting things happened in and around the drugstore over the years.

The old Central House building was torn down, and a long period of time ensued with the building permit process — so long, in fact, that on the chain-link fence around the water-filled hole, someone put up a “No fishing” sign.

The other happening was an oil truck parked on Grove Street had its parking brake fail, and the truck went driverless straight into Osbourn’s Store, narrowly missing Mr. Osbourn.

Those were my thoughts on the day after Hopkinton Drug’s “final curtain.”

10 Comments

  1. Stephen D Small

    On the South wall was a device on which electronic “tubes” could be tested and, I believe, a pay phone>
    Love your flashbacks, Ham.

    Reply
  2. Helen Deiana Ware

    Enjoyed your writing as I always do. Good job on the remembering the Hopkinton that we grew up in. I had forgotten about the big house there that our classmates the Dwyer twins lived in! How things have changed in downtown!

    Reply
  3. Amy

    Loved reading about this building. I worked at the Hopkinton Drug soda fountain all through high school in the late 70’s. Dennis was a great boss and often had me in tears laughing!

    Reply
  4. Judith A. Boudreau-Hardy

    I loved the article about HOPKINTON DRUG STORE, and the history around it. Born and raised @ 11 East Main St. I attended school in the Town Hall. I was an employer on the fountain/lunch counter in the late 1950’s when Ed. Katz owned it and shopped there often after I left his employment. Also remember shopping at I believe it was Woods Meat Market with my Mother Mary Boudreau. You have made my day to remember the GOOD OLD DAY’S Thank You

    Reply
  5. Ray Peterson

    Excellent job Billy. I lived right up the street on Grove. I remember all of what you have mentioned. Great memories. In today’s crazy world it is nice to think back to better times and have a quick smile or moment of peace. Thank You.

    Reply
  6. Barbara Evers Speranza

    I also work at Osbourn’s Store. Mr & Mrs Osbourn were great to work for, I was the first helper they hired !

    Reply
  7. Ellen

    Thanks so much for the memories. I work for a while at the drugstore behind the counter.
    My mother went there everyday to have coffee.

    Thanks for the memories

    Reply
  8. Cheryl Hitchings

    Great selections of 45’s, albums and comic books. Worked there in the late 60’s.

    Reply
  9. Paul Larter

    Before the card and gift store, that section was for video rentals. I wonder if my “lifetime” membership really paid off.

    Reply
  10. Barry Haines

    I was standing at the Conner of main st and cedar st when the oil truck rolled down grove st across main st into the store I was about 5 years old my mother was with me it was quite a seen I believe the truck was patten’s Plumbing & Heating

    Reply

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