LA's New Old Building

A Heritage Square addition looks at the drug store of yore.

It must be delightful, if a bit discombobulating, to walk into a store that looks very much like a shop you visited as a tot.

Picture a place you frequented with your family, and now picture it in a different spot, decades later, looking very much the same. It's strange, and wonderful, and, yep, historically important, too, to its community.

Colonial Drugstore, which debuts at Heritage Square in a private ceremony on Saturday, Nov. 3, may just summon that deja vu for a lot of Angelenos. The new old building -- new because it is recently constructed, old because it is highly historic inside -- summons the Highland Park pharmacy run by George A. Simmons following World War I.

The family of Mr. Simmons donated a vintage soda fountain, light fixtures, and other items from his original drugstore in his memory. There are over 80,000 artifacts in all, including cosmetics and medicines in their original boxes and wrappers.

The drugstore is a permanent addition to the historic park, which is known for Victorian homes. The homes at the 110-close Heritage Square are not recently built, but rather authentic; they were moved there to be saved, once upon a time. Colonial Drugstore is the first building to be constructed at Heritage Square in 43 years.

As mentioned, the grand opening is a private affair but the drugstore and its 80,000-artifact exhibit will be open to visitors starting on Sunday, Nov. 4.

Do you visit a neighborhood shop now that you love? One that should be rebuilt a century or so from now, should it no longer stand? Wacko/The Soap Plant, we're pretty sure you'll be around for a thousand years, but, if not, we hope some wise soul puts you in Heritage Square one day.

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