Sometime between 1924 and 1927, William Harper moved his successful pharmacy from the turreted building at 7401 Hazel across the street to his brand new Cape-Harper building. This he occupied with his father-in-law, Dr. Cape and other tenants as well.
His new pharmacy at 2818 Sutton occupied a very large room located on the first floor at the south end of the building and across the entire width of the building. From what we can still see today, Mr. Harper apparently spared no expense to have one of the finest establishments around.
Stepping into the pharmacy today is like entering a time capsule. The pressed tin ceiling and the inch square tile floor are still in place. Gone are the free standing display cabinets and counters that can be seen in the vintage photos of my previous post. But surviving are the absolutely, stunning, wall cabinets that once surrounded the entire room. They are largely intact on most of three walls while the back (east) cabinets have been altered but pieces of them remain.
These richly decorated cabinets must have been the top-of-the-line of whichever Grand Rapids manufacturer built them. “Grand Rapids”, found on a label on the rear of one of the cabinets, has long been a center of the American furniture industry.
Much of the finish is in remarkably good condition. Many of the cabinets could be put right back into service again with just a good cleaning. Also remarkable are the variety of features they include. From many, many small drawers of different sizes to the partitions separating the display window merchandise from the store interior.
The space has long been under-utilized. A neglectful owner has let things deteriorate a bit but hopefully that is about to change. This interior has miraculously arrived at this point in time with most of its fittings in place. All of us interested in this sort of thing should do all we can to encourage the next owner/tenant to preserve this fascinating relic of the history of our community.