The Many Facets of the Brown Building

This quaint building, known historically in the community as the "Brown Building," has a significant and interesting history in Millwood. The two-story commercial structure was built as a drugstore by George Brown in the early 1920s. In the style of many drugstores during that period, the entrance door is positioned on the southeast corner of the Brown Building, inspiring the building's present-day name, the Corner Door Café. In August of 1925, J. Elbert Tiffin purchased the site and he and his wife opened the town's longest-running pharmacy on the ground floor.

During the early years, Mr. and Mrs. Tiffin resided in the back apartments of the upper level, where Mrs. Tiffin held dinners and luncheons on occasion. Offices in the front portion of the second-story were rented by a Midwestern dentist, Dr. Neil Bayne, brought in by the Inland Empire Paper Company. One community member recalled the terror of dentistry in the early part of the 20th century, remembering the slipping drills and patients fleeing from the office. A doctor, Lyle Bailey, also occupied the southeast portion of the second-story.

Often called Tiffin's Pharmacy throughout the 1920s and 30s, the Millwood Pharmacy was a very neat shop, selling penny candy and gift items along with filling prescriptions for the locals. The pharmacy was also home to a built-in soda fountain which drew in many more customers. Today, a marble countertop replicates the bar where the original soda fountain once stood. The pharmacy was run by Mr. and Mrs. Tiffin, until his death in 1950. Mrs. Tiffin continued to live above the pharmacy for the remainder of her life.

Contributing to Millwood's buzzing social life through the 1960s, the drugstore took a brief turn as an antique shop before being restored as a vital fixture of historic Millwood. Today, the Corner Door Café is a central hub for local history and continues to preserve Millwood's stories and memories.

Images

The Paper Mill at Millwood, c.1930

The Paper Mill at Millwood, c.1930

A bird's-eye view of the paper mill's centrality to Millwood's community with the Brown Building situated in the upper-left corner. Image courtesy of the Washington State Archives, Digital Archives. View File Details Page

The Brown Building (Late 20th century)

The Brown Building (Late 20th century)

The Brown Building, built by George Brown in 1925, was a solid fixture in the Millwood community. Image courtesy of Washington State Archives, Digital Archives. View File Details Page

Tiffin's Pharmacy, late 1920s-30s

Tiffin's Pharmacy, late 1920s-30s

Tiffin's Pharmacy provided the town of Millwood penny candy and gift items, as well as prescription medication. Image courtesy of Millwood Washington History Enthusiasts, Facebook page. Permission of Bobbie Beese. View File Details Page

The Corner Door Caf�©, 2015

The Corner Door Caf©, 2015

The Corner Door Caf© continues to be a link to Millwood's history, preserving the stories and memories of community members. Image photographed by Hannah Bancroft. View File Details Page

The Corner Door Caf�©, 2015

The Corner Door Caf©, 2015

The former Millwood Pharmacy is a brick two-story commercial structure centered in Millwood. Image photographed by Hannah Bancroft. View File Details Page

The former pharmacy's "corner door," 2015

The former pharmacy's "corner door," 2015

In the pattern of many drugstores in the 1920s, the door of the former Tiffin's Pharmacy is on the southeast corner of the building. Image photographed by Hannah Bancroft. View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Hannah Bancroft, “The Many Facets of the Brown Building,” Spokane Historical, accessed June 28, 2017, http://spokanehistorical.org/items/show/537.
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