The original safe from the Nicholl the Druggist pharmacy that was located in downtown Amherst in the 19th century, is now preserved at the New Indian Ridge Museum thanks to a generous donation. We acquired this heavy piece of history on May 3, 2014.
E. H. Nicholl, “Nicholl the Druggist,” began his business as a pharmacist in a small, wooden storefront on Church Street and Park Avenue in Amherst in 1884. In 1894, his business relocated to 187 Park Avenue. There, Barney Kuss was employed as a pharmacist. He later purchased the drug store in 1910. It was renamed Kuss Drugs, and Mr. Kuss operated it until his death in 1927. (His widow, Allie B. Kuss, then took over the operation.) She sold the drugstore in 1954 to Donald Lessiter, who renamed it Lessiter Pharmacy. Higgins Pharmacy replaced Lessiter’s and moved to 395 Park Avenue in 1971. Higgins closed in 2008.
This safe, made by the Diebold Safe & Lock Co., of Canton, OH. is patented March 22, 1877. It is an interesting and exciting piece of local history that we are very pleased to be able to preserve. It is however an extremely heavy piece of history! The safe has two sets of doors. The name NICHOLL. was painted on the front of the safe once they acquired it for the pharmacy.
We are very grateful to Mrs. Mary (Powers) Miller for her generous donation of this unique piece of Amherst business history to the New Indian Ridge Museum. The Bernard and Allie Kuss family, who owned the drugstore after Nicholl, were Mrs. Miller’s grandparents. She noted that she remembered seeing the safe in the pharmacy over the years. Mrs. Miller stated she was pleased to be able to have this piece preserved locally, along with its long and well-documented history. A special thank you to Mr. Charlie Buga for the use of his trailer with winch.
Bill Nahorn, Museum Trustee and head of building and maintenance, works to unload the safe at the Museum property.