History: Oak Cliff Pharmacy was a neighborhood hub

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L.O. Donald established Oak Cliff Pharmacy soon after graduating from the pharmacy school at the University of Texas in Galveston around 1900. He opened the pharmacy with partners including fellow druggist Ben Ledbetter.

Eventually Oak Cliff Pharmacy would become a chain of four stores — the original location on Lancaster at Tenth, then Beckley at Jefferson, Seventh at Bishop and Jefferson at Tyler.

Oak Cliff Pharmacy at Seventh and Bishop
Oak Cliff Pharmacy at Seventh and Bishop

Oak Cliff Pharmacy was much more than just a drug store. As the post card at top reads, they had phones and “delivery boys,” who rode bikes and motorcycles. The store also registered an automobile in 1917.

The pharmacies also served as community centers of sorts. The Lancaster Avenue store began serving as a branch library in 1903. Oak Cliff residents could put in their orders for books any day of the week, and they were delivered on Tuesdays and Fridays. People could buy classified ads in the newspaper there until 1911. In 1917, the business and its 12 employees registered as an official Red Cross unit.

In the 1930s, it served as an auto licensing substation.

Donald also was president of the Southland Building and Loan Association and vice president of Oak Cliff State Bank and Trust. He served on the school board for more than 10 years and was on the building committee for many Oak Cliff Schools including Greiner middle school and Winnetka elementary. One of our neighborhood’s elementary schools is now named for him.

When he died in 1946, three of his pharmacies had been sold, and he was operating only the one on Jefferson at Tyler. By the 1950s, it seems all of the pharmacies either had closed or changed names. But Oak Cliff Pharmacy served as a hub of the community for about five decades.

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