Feb 28, 2013

Pingle's Drug and Book Store Interior

This downtown Medicine Hat location has been abandoned for years now, and the interior has been altered numerous times over the decades. Obviously there is still a story attached and clues to the building's uses over the years that are rather interesting, but the current interior isn't what I'd call historic. Frankly, the exterior painted wall is the building's best feature.

Two notable businesses that used the building were Pingle's Drug Store in the early half of the 20th century and the Medicine Hat Credit Union throughout the 1960s. These two operations stand out because there are a few details left from their time here.

Pingle's Drug interior ca. 1940s

You can see in the archival image above that there used to be a tin ceiling in Pingle's, however a drop ceiling was later installed by one of the businesses that followed. While exploring the space, I pointed my flashlight through an open hatch in the roof and got a glimpse of a tin tile. The original ceilings may still all be there, which is cool when you combine that with the vintage ad painted outside. You can see that the framework of the entrance is still pretty much the same too, with small doors on each side to access the store front windows.

In the back half of the building you enter an addition that likely came when the Credit Union did. The biggest clue is immediately to the right in the form of an old walk-in safe. After the 2007 fire in the neighbouring building, water leaked in and rusted the safe door closed. I'm not sure how long the door had been locked since then, but to get inside a giant hole had to be drilled through the concrete and the door was opened from the inside. The hole shows just how thick the walls are, and I found the two concrete plugs that were removed stacked in the bathroom.

The inside of the safe wasn't full of any treasures anymore unfortunately.  Instead it was being used as a storage room for old desks and other office furniture. Aside from an old stretcher, the rest of the space was mostly empty. The interior did take me by surprise though, because had I not have been invited to check it out, I would've never thought there was anything worth seeing here. It was actually really neat. 

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