2010 Brings Two Centennial Structures

by Ed Howard
Reprinted from Society News, the newsletter of the Arcadia Area Historical Society
June 2010. Volume 16 Issue 1.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the birth (construction) of a couple of Arcadia’s notable structures, the Arcadia High School and the Martineau Drugstore, so it seems only fitting that we give it a little recognition. The Society can detail later how it will be commemorating this occasion, but here, let’s simply reintroduce the two buildings that have played such positive roles in our little community.  

First, the Arcadia High School, now long demolished and removed, was built a century ago on a large site north across Lake Street from what is now the Finch Park tennis court. The site ran along the east side of Fourth Street from Lake to Division. The High School replaced the “twin schools” (aptly described in the Arcadia 1880-1980 centennial book) and, in effect, was the final consolidation of the four original school districts (Gabel, Swamp, Arcadia Village, and Burnham) which had existed in Arcadia Township in 1883.



Arcadia High School
In 1910 construction began on this school at 4th and Lake Street.

Until the High School was built, students in Arcadia could only receive an eighth grade education. Arcadia was thriving back then, so a larger, better equipped school was much needed. Naturally, it was four years (1914) before Arcadia had its first high school graduating class, and it consisted of two students, Earl Finch and Harold Crain. We’re fortunate that after 1914, Arcadia High School produced many more graduates because a number of them now serve in leadership and talented work force roles for the Arcadia Area Historical Society.

Our other centennial building, Martineau’s Drugstore, fortunately still stands beautifully on the southeast corner of Lake and Second Streets. It is now the home of Charlene Lang, one of our Society Events Committee members, and she is offering us another chance to enter this historic structure on June 26. (See the silent auction article.)



The Drugstore opened originally under the ownership of Donat J. Martineau, a trained pharmacist, but after his untimely death in 1924, his brother Albert took over the business. Many today still remember it as Albert and wife Myrtle‘s establishment. The Drugstore became headquarters for ice cream and soda lovers and, through the years, was a favorite gathering place for young Arcadians with a dime to spare. In summer, it also became a favorite destination for young folks staying at Camp Arcadia (the Walther League Camp).

At various times throughout its history, the Martineau Drugstore served as the telephone and Western Union message center, a place to buy hunting and fishing licenses, a place to pay your electric bills and a Greyhound bus depot. Also, since Albert himself was not a pharmacist, Arcadia’s early and renowned physician Dr. Jamieson , having night and day access, used the Drugstore for putting together his prescriptions.

Martineau Drug Store

Later an adjoining Bank was built on the east side of the Drug Store, which is left of the building in the photo. This building still stands at the corner of Lake and Second Streets.