Earl and Nelle inside Stake Drug

Earl and Nelle showing proudly display their wares.

A man and a woman and their magic. Earl and Nelle proudly display their wares.

It was almost too much to hope that a photo like this one would show up. It’s the interior of my Uncle Earl and Aunt Nellie’s drug store in Adams, Nebraska, name of Stake Drug Company, and thus a complement to the photo I posted earlier of the store’s exterior. I also wrote a little about my memory of the only visit I and my siblings ever made to Adams. I believe the stools you see at the counter here were the ones we sat on then — they’re certainly in the right place — although I remember the interior being much brighter and more modern than this. And that’s very possible, since this photo looks to have been taken a good two or three decades before the 1970s. Earl and Nellie (née Nelle Coffin) were actually my great uncle and great aunt, the sister and brother-in-law of my paternal grandmother, but we called them Aunt Nellie and Uncle Earl.

Cousin Nancy, who married Earl and Nellie’s son Don, sent me this image recently, pointing out the Christmas decorations evident throughout the store. I noticed other things, too: rings and other jewelry in the case in the right foreground, and are those fine chocolates in the case opposite? Above the chocolates, on the counter, are jars offering more sugary candies, and a cash register that, odd as it seems to say so, I can only describe as gorgeous, with its ornately decorated sides. Back on the other side of the store, up high, there seem to be paintings or prints of paintings for sale, something to make a statement over the fireplace. The right side of the main aisle seems to be devoted to the daily routine, talcs and soaps and medicines and whatnot (a sign reads “A Man and His Magic”, perhaps a slogan for a brand of aftershave or cologne?), while the shelves against the far back wall, though not clearly in focus, seem a little less alluring and more pragmatic and chaotic, maybe light hardware and small household needs arranged in trays or small tins and boxes, like hooks for hanging the paintings on. I’m just guessing. The whole scene fascinates me. A ladder is tipped up in the back room.

Click here for an even higher-resolution version of the image above, suitable for high-quality printing.

Following are a few more shots of the exterior that Nancy had sent me a while back. The first is a very old one on the front of which Nellie had written after her stroke. It’s a photo of a print and the image suffers somewhat for its removal from the original negative. The second one is from sometime in the 1970s, after the outside was painted to commemorate the store’s 50th anniversary. The third shows Don Stake and his niece Sara Stake on the shed roof helping with the brushwork. Remember, the store is gone, the building having burned in the 1990s.

Stake Drug Company, Adams, Nebraska. After 1925?

Stake Drug Company, Adams, Nebraska. After 1925?

Click the image above for a higher resolution version, or click here for the full-resolution version.

Serving Adams, Nebraska, for 50 years!

I don’t know what year this was taken. It may have been around the anniversary, or it may have been years after. Maybe someone good with car model identification can give us an earliest possible date based on the cars visible here. Leave a comment below.

Click the image above for a higher resolution version, or click here for the full-resolution version.

A family enterprise. Painting the building in commemoration of 50 years.

A family enterprise. Painting the building in commemoration of 50 years. Nancy says that’s Don Stake and Sara Stake on the roof. I guess that’d be half of Earl on the ladder. [Update 1/8/2018: Sara says that’s her dad, Bob Stake, on the ladder.]

Here’s the full-resolution version of the last photo above. If you look closely, you can see that the 50 is made up of words like ice cream and soda and yo yos and gum. However, the 50 in the previous photo, which I would assume is the finished product, appears to be painted solid. A mystery. – mdf

Image archive IDs:
First image: 20160123-001_earl_nelle_stake_store
Second image: 20160123-002_stake_drug_co
Third image: 20160123-003_stake_store_50yr
Fourth image: 20160123-004_painting_stake_drug

About the physical photographs:
Unknown. All presumably from the collection of Nancy Stake-Reynolds.


7 thoughts on “Earl and Nelle inside Stake Drug

  1. Pingback: Earl Stake, shotgun | Fleagle and Dowell Family History in Photos

  2. OH What a delight! Bob Stake on the ladder, and yes me on the roof in the overalls with Uncle Don. That was his “concrete poetry”, with words / names from owning and running the Stake Drug Store 50 years. Earl was shoveling snow into his 90’s, but it was Dad on the ladder.


    • Sara, thanks so much for commenting. It makes these posts so much more valuable. I love that last photo — it seems like it was a very sweet time. Thanks for the correction about your dad on the ladder and for addressing the mystery. I was just rereading this less than a week ago and wondering if anyone would ever be able to answer that.


  3. Matt, Just looking at some photos for husband’s 60th Bday. Came across photo of Stake Soda fountain with my inlaw Yleen and Gary Joselyn serving themselves the week they were wed December 1952. Don’t know how to attach photo to this post.


    • Hi Sara. Apparently there’s no mechanism for people to post an image in their comment, but I have access to the HTML code, so I’ve uploaded and linked to it in mine. If I did it right, you should be able to see it here.

      Thanks for sharing this. Although they are not blood relatives of mine, these two are enjoying a very happy moment in a place that was always something of a touchstone for the Stakes and Fleagles.

      I like the sign on the wall up in the lefthand corner that appears to say “Refresh yourself my friend and rest and feel you are a welcome guest.”


  4. I happened to stumble upon your blog looking for images of the “drug store” to show my kids. Earl and Nellie Hueston were my neighbors as a young child and Nellie was one of my first babysitters! They are an integral part of my most early memories in my mind they are old and frail so to see them young and active is a true blessing!


    • Hi Janet,
      Thanks for visiting and commenting. I’m glad your search brought you to our family website, but I can’t imagine where you got the name Hueston. Earl’s surname was Stake, and Nellie was born Nelle Coffin. I don’t know any Huestons. Are you sure these two are the pair you remember?


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