Riptide Galveston

Celebrating My Love Affair With Galveston Island . . .

Star Drug Store – The First Drug Store in Texas

A brass plaque marks the height of flood waters from Hurricane Ike


Galveston claims many of Texas’ firsts: The first paid police department, paid fire department, daily newspaper – and the first drug store.


Stepping into the Star Drug Store harkens to a simpler time. The original horseshoe counter with the embedded red tile star remains a prominent fixture. The best seats in the house are those round stools at the counter.


It’s from those stools that we watch the burgers grilled, breakfast cooked, and milkshakes and banana splits created.


It’s from those stools that we watch the burgers grilled, breakfast cooked, and milkshakes and banana splits created.

Star Drug Store, built in 1886 may no longer a pharmacy, however it is rumored to be haunted. During some renovations, workers’ tools were reported rearranged, and the men’s bathroom would be found locked from the inside – with no one inside to turn the lock!


Adding to firsts, Star Drug Store was the first desegregated lunch counter in Galveston. Like many Galveston properties, ownership of the Star Drug Store has changed multiple times through the years, but it has held on to its past.


Following a fire in 1998, the owners got to work rebuilding and restoring the façade, as well as its iconic Coca-Cola sign–one of the oldest porcelain neon Coke signs in existence today.

When Hurricane Ike hit in 2008, Star Drug Store, like all buildings near the historic Strand, flooded. I’m 5’7” and a commemorative plaque shows that more than six and a half feet of water rose into the diner.


Three months later, the “open” sign was on the door, and customers were back for the burgers and homemade shakes.


To find out more about Star Drug Store, go to www.galvestonstardrug.com