Scented

Warren Wallace Drug Store

Warren Wallace’s drug store opened in 1870 on Genesee Street, and John Waller’s law office was upstairs. (We can date this image closely, as Waller began to practice law circa 1875 and became President of the Skaneateles Savings Bank in 1886, probably moving across the street.)

Now and then eBay offers up a Skaneateles treasure such as the medicine bottle below, from the pharmacy of Warren Wallace (1830-1914), filled with an herbal essence distilled by Henry W. Hollon (1850-1928).

Wallace-Bottle

Hollon was a seller of patent medicines such as the gently laxative Narenta Water (“Never Gripes. Pleasant After-Effects.”), from a mineral spring in East Aurora, N.Y., and Hyomei, a cough & cold remedy from New York City by way of Australia (“The Land of the Kangaroo”) that was based on inhaled vapors rather than a liquid or pill. Readers were assured by Mr. Hollon that “the best people in Skaneateles always keep Hyomei in the house during the winter months.”

In 1876 Hollon patented his own remedy “for the alleviation or cure of headache, whether it be caused by gastric disarrangement, the use of intoxicating drinks, any nervous affection, mental or physical excitement, or other cause.” The ingredients were tincture of gentian, aromatic spirits of ammonia, bromide of sodium and tincture of lupulin (from hops). Two tablespoons were said to do the job.

This bottle, however, contained “A delicate and lasting perfume for the Handkerchief.” In an era when every house and building in Skaneateles had an outhouse, when chickens roamed freely and horses pooped in the street, when men spat streams of tobacco juice and smoked a dozen cigars a day, and trash was burned rather than collected, a scented handkerchief was a must-have for a lady who ventured outdoors.

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