|H.R. Bristol's first Santa Ana drug store, circa 1887.|
But who was Bristol named for?
Henry Richard Bristol was born on August 22, 1855 in Farmington, Illinois. He was the son of druggist Riley Bristol and his wife, Maria. Henry followed in his father’s footsteps and became a pharmacist. In 1877 he married Ella Frances Grouard. Their children would include Edna (1879), Henry Raymond (1885), and Marian (1891). The family left Farmington and arrived in Santa Ana in 1882 and Henry initially made his living here as a farmer. But in the mid-1880s he returned to the pharmacy counter, establishing his business in a commercial space on the first floor of the Rossmore Hotel at Sycamore and Fourth Street.
The railroad boom of the late 1880s gave Orange County’s economy and population a big boost, and business was growing fast. In 1888, Bristol brought a partner into the business – druggist A. R. Rowley of Indiana, who’d moved to Santa Ana only the year before. The business became the highly successful Bristol & Rowley Drug Store. Soon, they needed a larger space, and they had a big two-story building constructed on the northeast corner of 4th St. and Main St., which would become known as the Bristol & Rowley Block. This is now the site of the First American Corp. parking lot.
|Medicine bottles from Bristol & Rowley at Santa Ana Historical Preservation Soc.|
For health reasons, Bristol sold his share of the business to Rowley in the early teens and moved to Los Angeles County – first to South L.A. and finally settling in the young community of Owensmouth, in the San Fernando Valley. There, he grew Valencia oranges. The Bristols regularly visited all their old friends in Santa Ana, and their Santa Ana friends reciprocated. In fact, for many years the Santa Ana Valley Ebell Club even held annual day trips to the Bristol’s ranch.
|Oranges and tract homes along Bristol Ave. near the I-5 Freeway, circa 1950s.|
Long after the drugstore was gone, the building at 4th and Main was called the Bristol and Rowley Block, although it eventually became known as the French Building before being bulldozed to make way for Montgomery Wards.
What lasted longer was the name Bristol Street, named for pioneer druggist H.R. Bristol. The street was called Newport Road until at least 1891 and was called Bristol Street by 1894.
|Traffic camera view of Bristol Ave. at Santa Ana Blvd., 2014.|
|Bristol headstone at Angelus Rosedale Cemetery. (Photo from Ancestry.com)|