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Carlinville Public Library

Loomis House/ Loehr's Drug Store


The Loomis House in the early 1900s.  Notice the signs: St. George Hotel, Rotary HDQR’S (Headquarters) and Loehr’s Drug Store.

Site of The Loomis House (118 E. Side Square). 

Although the historic Town Square has many wonderful buildings, probably the most significant is the Loomis House. Built by Judge Thaddeus L. Loomis, one of the four commissioners charged with building the third courthouse, the imposing building included 50 rooms and a large dining area.  Dedicated on Dec. 1, 1870, the Loomis House was one of the grander hotels of central Illinois.  The architect was Elijah E. Myers, who also designed the Macoupin County “Million Dollar Courthouse” and the “Cannonball Jail”.   The Loomis House became part of the saga over the building of the Courthouse, as both structures were erected at the same time, and critics noted the Loomis House was built out of the same type of limestone blocks as the courthouse.  Judge Loomis stated he used surplus stone from the project which he said he purchased but never produced a bill of sales.  Loomis was never charged with a crime but was defeated for reelection.

At the present time, the top floors are closed to the public while the ground floor is home to a variety of businesses. 

Site of Loehr’s Drug Store

One of the businesses located on the ground floor of the Loomis House for numerous years was Loehr’s Drug Store.

Theo. C. Loehr, a prominent Carlinville businessman, was in the pharmaceutical business for 66 years.  Graduating from St. Louis College of Pharmacy in 1882, and after two years’ employment in a St. Louis drug store, Theo. Loehr returned to Carlinville and on May 1, 1884 founded the Loehr’s Drug Store.  Over the next 66 years, Loehr’s Drug Store made an important contribution to the health of Carlinville. 


Theo’s brother, Gustave, was born in Carlinville and moved to Chicago in 1886 to embark on a career as a mining engineer.  On February 23, 1905, Gustave and three other men met in Gustave’s office which was located in room 711 of the Unity Building on North Dearborn Street in the Chicago Loop and founded Rotary International, one of the premier service organizations of the world.  Rotary International is a businessman’s club for social purposes.  The February 23 gathering is credited by Rotary historians as the first-ever Rotary Club meeting.

Prior to the Unity Building’s demolition in 1989, Rotarians painstakingly removed all fixtures from Loehr’s old office and placed them in storage.  The office was later reconstructed on the sixteenth floor of Rotary International Headquarters in Evanston, Illinois, where it remains a memorial to the legacy of the first Rotary meeting.


Interior of Loehr’s Drug Store on the ground floor of the Loomis House.  Circa early 1900s.

NEXT: Site of first Ariston Café on the original alignment of Route 66:  (232 E. Side Square).