W.P. Hart’s Drug Store
A large wood building that housed W.P. Hart’s drug store. Hart was also a practicing physician, and he opened his office to several young men who were learning medicine, including Alexander L. Purdom and Samuel M. Carrigan. It was also the starting point of the 1883 fire that destroyed ten businesses and caused $50,000 worth of damage. Coupled with Hope’s rapid growth as a railroad town, the fire was the start of many businesses relocating to Hope, beginning Washington’s decline as the county’s business center.
Backstory and Context
William Presley Hart was born in Tennessee in 1831. He graduated from Bethel College and later Jefferson College (now Washington & Jefferson College) in Philadelphia. He came to Washington around 1855 to practice medicine. His first marriage was to Sallie Witter, a daughter of Daniel Tracy Witter, an early pioneer in Hempstead County. He was also an officer of the Mount Horeb Lodge in the community. When the Civil War broke out, he joined the Hempstead County Rifles as a private and fought at Wilson's Creek on August 10, 1861. After this battle, he returned home and assisted in caring for the sick soldiers in Washington for the rest of the war.
Among his apprentices were Samuel M. Carrigan, who became a leading physician in the state and in 1906 was president of the State Medical Board. Dr. James A.L. Purdom’s son, Alexander, also started his medical career with Hart before moving to Fort Smith. In 1875, Dr. Hart married Elizabeth L. Andrews, daughter of wealthy merchant and land speculator, William W. Andrews. He is buried in the Presbyterian Cemetery.