Q. I am looking for information and photos of Cunningham Drug on Main Street. When was it opened, and how long was it there?
Also, did that location house another business before the Parthenon restaurant?
A. Here’s a great photo from the Ann Arbor Street Exhibit collection on the Ann Arbor District Library’s website; the original is in the U-M’s Bentley Historical Library.
The corner long housed Ann Arbor’s preeminent department store, Mack & Company, founded in 1860. “After Mack & Co. closed, the upper stories were removed,” the website reports. “The first floor, clad in glossy green enameled steel panels, reopened in 1940 as national chain Cunningham’s Drugs.”
Founded in 1889, Cunningham’s was once the largest drugstore chain in the state. After this store closed in 1973, the building was briefly occupied by a flower store, Pots and Plants, before brothers John and Steve Gavas opened the Parthenon in 1975.
Cunningham’s sold its remaining Michigan stores in 1982 (including one in Plymouth Mall that’s now a Rite-Aid). It went out of business in 1991, after selling its last stores, in Florida, to Walgreens.
This article has been edited since it appeared in the February 2012 Ann Arbor Observer. The AADL collection in which the photo appears has been corrected.
Update: after the February issue went to press, Curtis Commercial Properties announced that 2Mission Development is buying the remainder of the Parthenon’s lease, and will move Cafe Habana to the former Cunningham’s building this summer.