The Q.I. Roberts History and Archaeology Club recently toured the historic Baldwin General Store, Daurer History Center at Heritage Park, and the Homemaker’s Club in Melrose. Pictured are Mr. Michael Weeks, (Club Adviser), Jean and Terry Marshall (‘Proprietors’ of Baldwin Store), Gavin Gottshalk, Grace Bunch, Addison Kirby, Michael Waters, and Isaac Harper.
The students were especially fascinated by the patent medicine collection that Terry and Jean have collected over the years. For example, “snake oils” like Elk Brand oil and Grove’s Tasteless Chill Tonic for malaria and fever. Surprisingly, the Elk brand sewing machine oil is exactly the same as the Elk brand cough syrup. Such products were legal because food and drugs were not regulated by the Federal government until 1906, following investigative journalism about the dangers of patent medicines and articles about meat quality.
E.W. Grove sold so much of the Chill Tonic that he became a millionaire hotelier, philanthropist, and real estate developer in Atlanta and Asheville, NC (both have Grove Park neighborhoods). In the 1890s, Grove’s Chill Tonic sold more bottles than Coca-Cola.
Q.I. Roberts Jr-Sr High School is Putnam County’s Cambridge acceleration magnet school which also promotes 18 extracurricular clubs.