The Allison Peck House, a two-storey Queen Anne Revival home featuring a grand two-storey bay window, stands proudly on Main Street in the heart of Hillsborough Village. Constructed in 1870, this dwelling is celebrated as a Local Historic Place due to its distinctive architecture, connections to its past residents, and the charm it has provided the village center since its inception.
A store has occupied this corner since 1820, but it wasn’t until 1870 that John A. Beatty built this adjoining house as his home. The residence showcases exceptional rural Queen Anne Revival architecture, a style prevalent in New Brunswick.
John A. Beatty, son of John Beatty Sr., who owned the Bay View Hotel across the street at the intersection of Mill and Main Streets, converted the store into an apothecary. Here, he dispensed medications until 1895. Having apprenticed to become an apothecary, John A. Beatty established the village’s second drugstore in 1870.
In 1894, C. Allison Peck, son of Hopewell attorney and Provincial Legislature member Charles A. Peck, completed his druggist training and chose to establish his business in Hillsborough. He purchased Mr. Beatty’s house and store and married Beatty’s daughter, Mary. Before the century ended, Peck finished three years of correspondence courses and passed the exam to become an optometrist. His career as a druggist lasted 60 years until his retirement in 1955, while his optometry practice continued for 67 years until his death in 1964. At 92 years old, he was North America’s oldest practicing optometrist. Peck and his wife also introduced the village’s first ice cream parlor and created a “toyland” on the store’s second floor each Christmas, rivaling the displays of larger competitors in nearby Moncton. Besides his professional endeavors, Peck was a renowned geologist, naturalist, and gardener.
Peck’s druggist career coincided with New Brunswick’s prohibition era, which lasted from 1884 to 1927. During this time, possession of alcohol in homes was legal, but its sale or public consumption was a criminal offense. The sole exception was the sale of liquor for medicinal purposes. After visiting a doctor, patients would head to a drugstore to have their prescriptions filled. A hand water pump was situated behind C. Allison Peck’s house and drugstore, which the community humorously dubbed “the million-dollar pump.” The name alluded to the alleged value of the water Peck used to dilute liquor before selling it as medicine.
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