Entering the Streetscapes exhibit, you will notice the floor changes to stone and then to cobblestone in order to mimic a street. The exhibit is designed to look like you are outside at night on a downtown street.  

As you walk in on your right, you will find two floor-to-ceiling black and white murals of Downtown Johnson City looking west on Main Street from Roan Street (to the right of the pillar) and Downtown Chattanooga looking east on 7th Street from Market Street (to the left of the pillar).  

To the left as you enter you will find the Corner Drug Store. Click here to read information about the drug store

The Corner Drug Store

Sanford, Chamberlain, & Albers Proprietors Since 1864

The Corner Drug Store was a center of activity in small towns and cities throughout East Tennessee in the early twentieth century. In addition to offering basic remedies and personal items, drugstores often served as gathering places where neighbors could buy a soda or catch up on the local news.

The artifacts and objects in the Corner Drug Store come from all across the region and represent more than a century and a half of pharmaceutical history in East Tennessee. The collection was donated by Edward S. Albers Jr., whose grandfather, Andrew Jackson Albers, arrived in Knoxville in 1864 and become one of the founding partners in the wholesale drug company of Sanford, Chamberlain, and Albers.

The support of Edward S. Albers, Jr. Family, Mr. and Mrs. W. James Ellis, and Fred G. Benton is gratefully acknowledged.

Cosmetics – Toiletries – Drugs – Soda Fountain – Prescriptions

The drug store is a brick building with display windows on either side of the entrance. The display windows contain apothecary bottles filled with colored liquid on multiple shelves. Click here to learn about the apothecary bottles.

Apothecary Bottles
  • These shelf dispensing bottles date from 1890.
  • The hand painted glass and gold leaf labels were generally in Latin.
  • The narrow neck ones were tincture bottles.
  • The wide mouth ones were “salt mouth” or powder bottles.
The Show Globes
  • These symbols of the apothecary date back to the great plague of London in 1665.
  • They directed the sick who could not read to their doors.
  • At that time the apothecaries were also medical practitioners.
  • The central show globe was brought back from the 1897 London Exploration by A.J. Albers.
  • The pair of show globes right and left are by Owens Illinois Glass Company who supplied the pharmacy glassware, mortals and pestles, graduated and RX bottles.
Drug Store Bottles
  • Those embossed with drug store name in glass.
  • For both prescription dispensing and pharmacists’ private brand medicines
  • Collection was primarily dug from cisterns, wells, and outhouses
  • These are from many regional drug stores like: George W. Albers, Square Drug Co, Todd and Armistead, Albers E. Logan, John Sonner Sharps, Lonsdale, Rosenthal, Kulmons
Private Brand Products
  • Frequently called for items
  • Pharmacist offered 1, 2, or 4 oz bottles
  • Poured up in advance from pint, gallon, or bulk powders
  • Pharmacist used pre-printed or typed prescription labels
Dose Cap Bottles
  • Separate cap covers the neck of the bottle
  • Cap is measure for proper dose
Citrate of Magnesia
  • Porcelain stopper
  • 12 ounce size only
  • Flint, blue or green glass
  • Bottles labelled or embossed with “Cure”
  • Word banned by 1906 Federal Drug Act
  • From dried root of South America and Southern US
  • Combined with mercurials, vaunted as cure for syphilis
  • In 1820 U.S. Pharmacopeia

The drug store has a large double door entrance to allow visitors to step inside. Above the entrance is a wedge shaped green and yellow Corner Drug Store sign. Step inside the drug store and you will notice the floor change to tile. In the floor tile, there is a black and gray medicine bottle design. Immediately on the left is a Toledo large dial “Lollipop” enamel cast iron scale for weighing goods. Next to that is a soda fountain with a mannequin “serving customers”. The soda fountain contains a black and gray/tan marble bar with a mirror behind the mannequin and a counter to pour drinks for customers. To the right is a wall lined with medicine cabinets filled with apothecary bottles and boxes. A glass topped table displays typical items that could be purchased in a drug store including a lighter and perfume bottles. 

To learn more about the inside of the drug store click here

The Corner Drug Store
  • Keeping alive the memory of the 1925-1945 Streetscape of every East Tennessee Community
  • Glass wall cases and drawer units from the pre-self selection era
  • Clerks would wrap purchases and ring up sales on 1910 NCR cash Register
  • Fixtures were from the Tate Morgen (later Tucker) Drug Store on Washington Ave.
  • Soda Fountain from Selley’s Drug Store in Asheville, NC, Marble from Albers family
  • Bocktar from Sanitary Drug Store in White Pine, TN, Cherry smash dispenser Max Ramsey
  • Glass top display soda table from Smith Drug Store in Rutledge, TN
  • Shelf stock from the Albers Collection with additions from Mrs. Robert Stooksbury and pharmacists all over the region
  • Prescription Department suggests the compounding, pill tile, “wasp nest Rx files” and Royal typewriter of a pre-computer age. Rx ware from Owens Brockway Glass Company.
  • Wholesalers catalog and sample case, Richard Hudnut displays from Willien W. Albright

Exit the drug store and follow along the wall to the left to find a window looking into the side of the apothecary. The window contains a mannequin dressed in a period business suit as if he were the druggist. Various bottles are in view behind the mannequin. A sign in the window explains the Store Cost Codes. Store cost codes where used to disguise the cost of each product, using letters and symbols to stand for numbers.  

Continue past the window and you will find a dentist office display. The office has 2 large windows allowing a view of a dental chair and a dental cabinet containing instruments and supplies. One window has a sign saying Henry Thomas Boyd and Harold Burns with a tooth containing the letters DDS. To learn more about the Dentist Office click here

The Dentist Office of Henry Thomas Boyd, DDS and Harold Burns, DDS The first dental college was opened in Knoxville in 1889. Hydraulic dentist chairs like this one were first patented in 1877. Both the chair and the dental cabinet remained in use until well into the twentieth century. Foot-powered drills were also in use through the early twentieth century, but electric drills were common by the late 1920s. The dentist chair (c. 1900) and the dental cabinet (c. 1910) were used by Dr. Harry Burns, a prominent Knoxville dentist. The dental instruments and supplies on the cabinet were used by Dr. Henry Thomas Boyd, a graduate of the Vanderbilt University dental department in 1900 who established his practice in Sweetwater. These instruments include a bur block holder, a tooth shade guide, an upper maxillary mold, wax work tools for making dentures, and various finishing tools.

n the middle of the Streetscapes exhibit is a life-size streetcar that once traveled the streets of Knoxville. The streetcar is yellow with Island Home displayed in the front window and numbered 416. A mannequin is positioned in the front dressed as the car operator. Beside the cable car is a mannequin of a little newspaper boy standing on two wooden crates with a newspaper in his hand and a bag over his shoulder. There is a stack of newspapers “for sale” next to him. Behind the streetcar is a floor-to-ceiling mural displaying a yellow streetcar traveling down main street. Hanging from the ceiling above the streetcar is a purple, white, and yellow women’s suffrage flag.  

At the end of the room are three doorways. The farthest doorway to the right leads to the special features section. The two doors on the left lead to Voices of the Land, with the farthest left being the entrance. A portrait of Natalie L. Haslam hangs on the wall between the doors. An emergency exit is located on the wall to the left of the Voices of the Land entrance.