History

Boynton-McKay Drug Co. was established in 1893, the year after a fire destroyed much of downtown Camden, in a building constructed by Edwin C. Fletcher. Mr. Fletcher had owned and operated Fletcher Apothecary next door, where the House of Logan is now. In October 1892, Elkanah E. Boynton bought the business from Mr. Fletcher, naming it E.E. Boynton Co. and one month later, the business was destroyed. The only thing saved was the complete record of prescriptions filled. During the following year, construction was completed on the buildings from the river bridge to the corner of Main and Mechanic Streets.

Mr. Fletcher built this building specifically for Mr. Boynton and he opened for business in the autumn of 1893. The wall fixtures are original. The cabinets are bird’s eye maple and were built in the store by the Camden Shipbuilding Company. The pressed steel ceiling is original as is the Minton Tile floor.

Around 1914, Mr. Boynton hired Thomas McKay to work one summer and he stayed 55 years! Mr. McKay became Mr. Boynton’s partner around 1924 and the business was renamed Boynton-McKay Drug Co. When Mr. Boynton died around 1930, he left his share of the business to Mr. McKay.

During the teens and twenties, Boynton-McKay was also the home of the Pendleton Company. They manufactured several products including Pendleton’s Panacea, Pendleton’s Hot Drops, Dr. Stearns’ Remedy, Gardiner’s Balsam of Spruce Gum and Wild Cherry, to name a few. Most of these remedies contained from 6% to 60% grain alcohol. The prohibition movement had begun in Maine in the 1840s and in 1919, two-thirds of the US states ratified the constitutional amendment prohibiting the sale of alcohol. The Pendleton Company continued to manufacture their remedies and before prohibition was repealed in 1933, Boynton-McKay’s profits were huge.

Tom McKay, Jr. joined his father in the business after his graduation from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy in 1956. In 1959 he was drowned in a boating accident, which drastically changed the history of Boynton-McKay. Mr. McKay was there, on the job, usually seven days a week until his death in November of 1969.

Upon his death, his daughter, Janet McKay inherited the business. In January of 1970, Sam Jones began working for Miss McKay as a pharmacist. In February of 1980 Sam bought the business from Miss McKay. He had a passion for clocks and operated a clock repair shop from the back room.

Sam closed Boynton-McKay for good in 1996. In May of 1999, Phil McElhaney and Susan Penner opened Boynton-McKay Food Co. cultivating a strong following among locals and returning visitors with a reputation for delicious, quick and reasonably priced breakfast and lunch. In late February 2014 Phil and Susan passed the torch to Brian Beggarly and Molly Eddy.

The restaurant shut down in November 2014 for some much needed renovations, including repair of the kitchen floor. There is now a diversity of seating in the front of the restaurant and streamlined coffee and food service in the sparkling kitchen towards the back. Molly has been slowly re-finishing the birds-eye maple, and Brian has been adding his own personal touch to the lunch menu. To Boynton-devotees “from-away”; we sincerely think you will enjoy the changes when you come back to see us, and for those of us joining us for the first-time; Welcome! come-on in!