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Dr. Lawrence Sanford Ricketts


1907

Born in 1867, Lawrence S. Ricketts was an Orange native and graduated from the College of Pharmacy, University of Maryland. He returned to Orange and founded the Ricketts Drug Store in 1888, then located on Railroad Avenue. Ricketts was not a medical doctor, however the title stuck due to his pharmacy training. In 1908, the infamous “Great Fire of 1908” began in an apartment in the second floor of his Drug Store building and destroyed his store along with a sizable portion of Orange’s business district. In early 1909, he quickly relocated his business to the corner of Madison Road and Main Street, across from the Orange County courthouse where he built a large 2-story brick building. Before he could build his new store, he had a large 2-story frame house removed from the lot. His new drug store site was called “Ricketts Corner” and he endeavored to make its location the commercial hub (beyond a simple, country apothecary shop) in town.


As the years passed, Dr. Ricketts offered a wide array of everyday items and necessities at his store and also installed a gas pump in the front in the early 1920s and called it the Eveready Service Station. During the 1920s after the Orange Volunteer Fire Company purchased their first emergency truck, it was often parked outside Ricketts’ store until the fire company built their station farther up Main Street to the west. In 1936, Dr. Ricketts sold his successful operation to his partner, Dr. E. Hubert Rouse.


Dr. Ricketts was heavily involved in civic affairs in Orange. In 1909, when his father who was the serving Orange County treasurer died, Dr. Ricketts was appointed to fill the vacant office. Over the years, he served with distinction as the president of the Tomahawk Hunt Club, charter member and secretary of the Orange Horseman’s Association, president of the Rapidan Fishing Club, vice-president of the Orange Grocery Company, and vice-president of the National Bank of Orange. He was also instrumental in helping to establish the town’s first municipal water system in 1908-1910. Ricketts also served as assistant fire chief in the years before the Orange fire company was officially chartered in 1921.

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