Cordray Drug Store

Ashley and Michael Cordray this weekend are opening Cordray Drug Store, an ice cream shop and Airbnb, in an old corner store at 39th Street and Avenue L in Galveston.

Sweet scoop: The island is home to a new ice cream shop opened by two TV stars known for restoring old island buildings.

After nearly two years waiting out the pandemic and trying to find the right time and employees, Michael and Ashley Cordray have opened Cordray Drug Store, 3827 Ave. L.

Cordray Drug Store

Ashley and Michael Cordray’s new venture Cordray Drug Store will be serving rolled ice cream from noon to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

Cordray Drug Store

Photos of the Paganucci Grocery and Market hang above tables at Cordray Drug Store at the corner of 39th Street and Avenue L in Galveston. Ashley and Michael Cordray, whose family owned an operated Cordray Drug Store from 1918 to 1965, have renovated the old corner store into an ice cream shop and Airbnb.

Cordray Drug Store

Cordray Drug Store features seating areas where customers can play games, eat ice cream and relax.

Cordray Drug Store

Ashley and Michael Cordray draw on the butcher paper lining the tables at their ice cream shop, Cordray Drug Store, 3827 Ave. L in Galveston, on Thursday.

National Hotel Artist Lofts

Scaffolding surrounds the National Hotel Artist Lofts in downtown Galveston, on Tuesday as crews repair cornices of the historic building.

National Hotel Artist Lofts

Scaffolding surrounds the National Hotel Artist Lofts in downtown Galveston, on Tuesday as crews repair cornices of the historic building.

Biz Buzz-Slim Chickens

Construction work is ongoing at the old Slim Chickens location in League City. Andy Zhuo plans to open Miru Seafood at the building.

Laura Elder: 409-683-5248; laura.elder@galvnews.com

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(4) comments

Bailey Jones

Great news for an island summer - ice cream, bagels, and BBQ. I hope all of these entrepreneurs thrive in their new locations.

Bailey Jones

William Faulkner wrote, "The past is never dead. It's not even past." That's one of the things I love most about studying history.

This morning, Juneteenth, quite by accident, I came across a story in the Galveston Daily News, dated March 19th, 1979. It was titled, "Cordray Drug Store a landmark from pre-civil War days into the 1900s". According to the editor's note, it was excerpted from a book on the history of pharmacy in Texas:

"Cordray Drug Store, located on the southwest corner of 15th and Post Office streets in Galveston, had long been a part of that city's history since the building was erected in 1866.

"On this site was one of the principle slave markets in Galveston before the Civil War. During the slave era, this location, near the Galveston docks, was the site of much activity - large crowds, seeking to acquire laborers and domestic help, attended slave auctions conducted from a large cement block. A principal trader was Colonel John S. Sydnor, one of Galveston's early mayors, who amassed a large fortune from the slave business.

"In the year following the Civil War, a building was constructed on the site and used as a carpenter's shop and later housed a grocery store. In 1918, it was purchased by Edmund Joseph Cordray, the pharmacist for whom the Cordray Drug Store was named."

The article continues with a description of the building and a biography of Mr. Cordray, concluding with his death in 1965 and the eventual condemnation and tearing down of the building by the city. In addition to his pharmacy, it says, Mr. Cordray took up real estate as a hobby, buying and renovating old houses, eventually retiring from the pharmacy to enjoy this hobby.

The article concludes, "Cordray Drug Store will always be remembered as a historical landmark in Galveston, not only for the slave market activities but also for the services that he offered the people of Galveston. They extended beyond health care and the filling of prescriptions but included personal advising, referral and treatment of both mental and physical illnesses. It also served as a meeting place and as a place to air personal opinions on the controversial subjects of the day. It shall forever be held a dear place in the hearts of all Galvestonians."

In 1979, the Victor Gustafson Home was moved to this location. The Cordrays, of course, continue the real estate "hobby" of their ancestor. The slave market went out of business on June 19th, 1865.

Ana Ortiz-Monasterio Draa

Very interesting Bailey! I found a link to the article in Newspapers.com. It appears the original drugstore was a Texas Landmark, I wonder what happened to it. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/1939035/edmund-cordray-drugstore/

Bailey Jones

It apparently fell into disrepair and was condemned by the city and torn down. The East End Historical society used the lot for a while until the Gustafson Home was moved there. There are probably bits of the original building in some of the island's salvage shops. Perhaps someone has photographs of it. I haven't been to the new Cordray Drug Store yet, it would be cool if they had some photos there of the old place.

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