Carl’s Drug Store

Oldest continuously operating drug store in the USA

Carl Family and Drug Store History


Michael Carl emigrated from Germany to York, Pennsylvania.  He served two enlistments with the Continental Army.

1800 December 16

Adam B. Carl was born, Hanover, York County, Pennsylvania, son of George and Catherine Diller Carl.  George Carl was a grandson of Michael Carl.  Adam’s father died at a young age and he was then raised by his father’s brother.  Adam moved to Carlisle where he worked in a pharmacy and became interested in medicine.

1825 April

Adam moved to Greencastle and lived in the two-story house, which was the second building south of the alley, in the first half block, on the west side of North Carlisle Street. Reference to this location was made in Dr. George D. Carl’s obituary.

On April 27 Adam opened his drug store at 13 South Carlisle Street.

1825 May

Adam married Ann Marie Michael, daughter of John and Catherine Beltz Michael.

1826 May 22

Son William H. was born, who died suddenly in 1874.

1828 February 19

son John was born (father of Charles B.). John was educated in the schools of Greencastle and became a farmer.  John married Martha Ritchey Wingerd. Later, he established a shoe and hat store at 6 North Carlisle Street in the building next to the First National Bank.

1829 March

Adam graduated from Washington Medical College, Baltimore, Maryland.  Sometime during this year, he moved the store to 27 South Carlisle Street, which later would become the residence of grandson Pitt F. Carl, brother of Charles B.

1830 June 15

son George Davison was born.  George was the only son of Adam to become a physician.

1830 September

Martha Ritchey Wingerd, daughter of John Wingerd and Lydia Stahl, of Antrim Township was born.

1832 June 5

Son Charles H. was born to Adam and Ann Maria; he died at age 3 in 1835.


Adam acquired the title to the property at 27 North Carlisle Street. The street number on both South and North Carlisle Streets were, coincidentally, the same.


Adam built the structure at 27 North Carlisle Street that served as both residence and drug store. The drug store was located in the southwest corner room of the building.  Susquehanna Bank (formerly the Citizens National Bank) supposedly has all the deeds for this property dating back to John Allison in 1782.

1836 December 19

son Xavier Bichat was born; he died at about one year of age.

1838 April 11

daughter Henrietta Josephine. was born.

1840 October 3

Franklin A. Bushey was born at the residence on the Williamsport Pike that was built by Dr. Robert Johnston of Revolutionary War fame.

1843 March 1

daughter Mary Ellen was born. She was the last child of Adam and Ann Marie.  She later married Dr. Franklin A. Bushey.

1848 July 6

Ann Marie Carl, Adam’s first wife, died.


Adam married Ann’s sister Mrs. Susan Moore; she died in 1874.

1851 February 22

An advertisement in Greencastle’s weekly newspaper, Conococheague Herald, indicated that Dr. A. Carl and Son advertised that they had “a full and well selected assortment of fresh drugs, medicines, oils, paints, glassware, cigars, chewing tobacco” etc. and assured the public that they “made the sale of Medicines a matter of conscience and not of profit.” This information is from G. Fred Ziegler’s March 23, 1944 Echo Pilot article.

1853 Spring

Dr. George D. Carl graduated from the Pennsylvania Medical College of Philadelphia and entered the practice of medicine with his father Dr. Adam Carl.


Adam decided to devote fulltime to the practice of medicine.

Son William assumed the management of the drug store.

1856 November 27

Charles Blair Carl was born. He was the first son of John and Martha Wingerd Carl and grandson of Dr. Adam Carl.  Charles was educated in Greencastle schools and by private tutors.

1859 December 17

John Adam Carl was born.  He was the second son of John and Martha Carl and was a grandson of Dr. Adam Carl.

1861 March 2

Dr. Franklin A. Bushey graduated from the University of Maryland.

1861 April 21

Bushey enlisted in the United States Army.

1863 May 30

E. Dorsey Carl was born.  He was the third son of John and Martha Carl and a grandson of Dr. Adam Carl.  E. Dorsey served as one of Greencastle’s Post Masters.

1863 July

Dr. Adam Carl, at his residence and drug store at 27 North Carlisle Street, treated the wounds of Confederate soldiers upon their retreat from the Battle of Gettysburg as they passed back through Greencastle.

1864 September 15

Pitt Fessenden Carl was born, the fourth son of John and Martha Carl and was a grandson of Dr. Adam Carl.


John Carl – second son of Dr. Adam Carl, opened a shoe and hat store at 6 North Carlisle Street next to the First National Bank.  Charles B. Carl began working in the drug store at the age of 14.


William M. Carl died suddenly at the age of 46. Dr. Adam Carl resumed management of the drug store and later employed his grandson Charles B. as his assistant.

Later and while Charles attended school at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, Dr. Franklin A. Bushey managed the drug store so that Dr. Adam Carl could continue practicing medicine.  Bushey was married to Adam’s youngest daughter, Mary Ellen.

Dr. Adam’s second wife, Susan, died.

1880 Spring

Charles graduated from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and assumed management of the drug store.


Adam was still practicing medicine at the age of 80.


Pitt Fessenden Carl, brother of Charles, opened Carl’s Book Store – a book and stationery store, at 8 Center Square.  He was an expert telegrapher and managed Greencastle’s Western Union office for 30 years.  Pitt was the manager of Greencastle Water Works for the first 15 years of its operation and served several years as the manager of the Cumberland Valley Railroad’s real estate department. He was instrumental in the formation of Greencastle’s “modern” water system and Old Home Week.


Charles attained a notary public license.


Charles purchased the drug store from his grandfather Adam.

1890 November 6

Pitt married Emily Lantz Fletcher, daughter of Louis Henry Fletcher and Martha E. Fletcher.  Emily was the sister of Henry P. Fletcher.

1891 April

Dr. Adam Carl died at the age of 90 having practiced medicine for 62 years, treating special old patients and friends during the last three to four years of his life up until about a week before his death.

1891 May

Charles moved the drug store across the street to 6 North Carlisle Street in the building next to the First National Bank.  Charles’ father, John, once ran a shoe and hat store in this building.

1891 November 25

Charles married Sallie G. Pensinger, the only daughter of Jacob and Isabella B. Rupley Pensinger.

1893 June 2

son John Jacob was born.

1897 August 22

son George was born.

1898 November 7

 Sallie Pensinger Carl died.

1901 July

Charles married his second wife, Elizabeth Rhodes, daughter of the Rev. George M. Rhodes, a prominent Lutheran minister.

1902 August

The first Old Boys Reunion was held.


Dr. George Davidson Carl died at the age of 85.  He practiced medicine until a few years before his death.  His practice was largely devoted to pediatrics. At the time of his death, he was the oldest, native-born citizen of Greencastle.

1916 August

Charles moved the drug store from 6 North Carlisle Street to the new three-story building that he had constructed at 6 East Baltimore Street.

1924 June 26

Dr. Franklin A. Bushey, U.S. Army surgeon, died in his home at 27 North Carlisle Street.  He was a member of the Grand Army of the Republic and was the U.S. Pension examining surgeon for many years.

1933 June 11

Pitt Carl died.

1935 November 3

Charles died and his son Edward Rhodes Carl assumed management of the drug store for the estate until his mother’s death some years later, at which time Ed became the proprietor.

1940 March 27

John Adam Carl died; he was a brother of Charles B. and Pitt F.  At the time of his death, he was the last surviving member of the first Old Home Week committee, which in 1902 was called the Old Boys Reunion.  He worked as a clerk in Pitt’s book store (Carl’s Book Store) and in Carl’s Drug Store for his brother Charles.  He was both a burgess and town councilman in the Borough of Greencastle.

1953 February

Citizen’s National Bank (now Susquehanna Bank) demolished the Carl-Bushey residence at 27 North Carlisle Street.  The building was originally built by Dr. Adam Carl in 1836 as his home and pharmacy.  The site was used for a new drive-through window and parking lot.


The First National Bank razed the John Carl building at 6 North Carlisle Street to make room for drive-through service and a parking lot.

1974 January 1

Frank H. Ervin purchased Carl’s Drug Store from Edward R. Carl.

1999 March 8

Ervin moved Carl’s Drug Store to its current location at 145 North Antrim Way.

2005 April

Carl’s Drug Store celebrated its 180th anniversary as the oldest, continuously operating drug store in the United States.  To mark the celebration, a booklet chronicling the history of Carl’s Drug Store was published by Frank Ervin.  In addition, an old-fashioned, hand-held church fan, featuring the image of a glass slide that was used as an advertisement for the drug store in the local Greencastle theater, was produced.  Both the booklet and fan were given away as mementos of the 180th anniversary.


This exhibit is in the museum house.

This exhibit is in the museum house.