Located in the historic downtown Placerville, California, this minty building was basically built with free money.
F.A. Gerbode began construction of this building for Will A. Fairchild in 1903. Family legend says that when excavation began, enough gold was found to finance the project, which totaled $16K.
The building’s two stories, much like today, housed two stores on the first floor, including Fairchild’s Pharmacy and 15 office rooms on the second floor.
In the early days, Fairchild’s Pharmacy featured an elaborate marble-topped soda fountain. Here also, customers could purchase real photo postcards that Will and his wife, Frankie, had commissioned. Their vast array of collectible postcards lined a large area of one of the store’s entry walls, and depicted scenes of El Dorado County businesses, homes, landmarks and notable citizens. Another popular item was Fairchild’s barb wire oil, said to speed the cure of everything from saddle galls to chapped hands.
Frances Fairchild was interested in culture and art of the local Native American tribes and acquired a large number of Maidu and Miwok baskets which lined nearly the entire promenade of the store’s walls.
In 1849 Colonel Albert Bee and his brother Frederick built a pole and split shake store and dwelling here. The brothers helped to found the Placerville-Humboldt Telegraph Company in 1858 which ran from Placerville to the Great Salt Lake in Genoa, Nevada and was known as the “Bee’s Grapevine.” When the building was built for W.A. Fairchild in 1903, enough gold was found when digging the foundation to finance the project! It housed Fairchild’s Pharmacy, which continued when his son joined the business. — From Elk Grove Historical Society website