From Soda Fountain to Hotel: The Drug Store Hotel Story

Imagine a place where you could grab a soda, buy medicines, and stay the night. This might sound like an unusual combination, but it’s exactly what the Fort Davis hotels offered. Today, we’ll take you on a fascinating journey from the humble beginnings of a soda fountain to the establishment of a unique hotel that served its community in ways you’d never expect.

The Birth of the Soda Fountain

In the late 19th century, soda fountains became popular in drug stores across America. They weren’t just places to get a refreshing drink; they were social hubs where people gathered to chat and enjoy the latest fizzy concoctions.

A New Idea is Born

As these soda fountains gained popularity, some enterprising drug store owners saw an opportunity. Why not expand their services to include lodging? Thus, the idea of the Drug Store Hotel was born.

The Early Days

In the beginning, the idea was simple. Customers could enjoy a soda and then stay the night if they were traveling or needed a place to rest. It was a practical solution that quickly gained traction.

Expanding Services

Soon, the Drug Store Hotel began offering more than just a bed for the night. They included breakfast, toiletries, and other amenities. This made them even more attractive to travelers.

A Community Gathering Place

The Drug Store Hotel became more than just a place to stay. It was a community hub where locals and travelers mingled. The soda fountain remained a central feature, drawing people in for both social and practical purposes.

Overcoming Challenges

Running a business that combined a drug store, soda fountain, and hotel was no easy task. Owners had to manage various aspects, from stocking medicines to ensuring guests had a comfortable stay.

The Golden Age

The mid-20th century saw the Drug Store Hotel reach its peak. They were often family-run businesses, known for their personal touch and community involvement. Many locals relied on them for more than just lodging or a soda.

Modern Innovations

While the original Drug Store Hotels have mostly faded away, their legacy lives on. Modern hotels sometimes incorporate aspects of their diverse offerings, creating spaces that serve multiple purposes.

The End of an Era

By the late 20th century, the rise of specialized hotels and changes in retail led to the decline of the Drug Store Hotel. However, their impact on community life and business innovation remains significant.

Lessons Learned

The story of the Drug Store Hotel teaches us about the power of innovation and community. These businesses adapted to meet the needs of their customers, creating unique solutions that left a lasting legacy.


The Drug Store Hotel may no longer exist, but their story is a fascinating chapter in American history. They remind us that innovation often comes from the most unexpected places. For those interested in business, history, or community, the tale of the Drug Store Hotel offers valuable lessons and inspiration.