Dr. Pepper Pharmacy Could Soon Be Rebuilt

June 19, 2015
Meghan Ross, Associate Editor

A Virginia town is hoping to rebuild the pharmacy where Dr. Pepper allegedly invented the popular soda.

A Virginia town is hoping to rebuild the pharmacy where Dr. Pepper allegedly invented the popular soda.

Tim Litz, the mayor of Rural Retreat, Virginia, told WDBJ7 he is hoping to attract tourists to the area with the rebuilt pharmacy. Currently, the only draw for out-of-towners is fishing.

“We love to have visitors come see us when they could,” Litz told WDBJ7.

A grocery store and the pharmacy Dr. Pepper owned both burned down in the late 1990s, but the soda company has been working with the town to potentially help fund the pharmacy’s revival.

“They have an interest in putting in a soda fountain or a small museum of Dr. Pepper memorabilia,” Litz told WDBJ7. “We're really excited about that.”

Dr. Charles T. Pepper earned his medical degree at the University of Virginia in 1855 and worked as a surgeon for the Confederacy in the Civil War before moving to Rural Retreat and opening up his own store.

It was in this pharmacy where he allegedly experimented with mountain herbs, roots, and seltzer to make the drink, which was later mass-produced by his assistant, Wade Morrison, according to The New York Times. Dr. Pepper did not reap a great fortune from the drink, after Morrison took credit as the creator of the soda, the paper reported.

In the 1990s, a family named the Counts owned the pharmacy, but had to close it due to lack of demand. The owners told The New York Times they were selling 55 prescriptions a day, but would have needed 80 to keep the business going.

Dr. Pepper bought the space for the pharmacy in 1872, according to The New York Times. His remains are located in a cemetery near the burned-down pharmacy, WDBJ7 reported.