Charles Rudolph Walgreen, born 09 October 1873 in Galesburg, Knox County, Illinois, was the son of Charles & Ellen (Olson) Walgreen both of Swedish descent. When he was still quite young he and his family relocated to Dixon IL in 1887, where his father, a farmer - turned businessman, saw the potential of the Rock River Valley. Young Charles was interested in competitive sports, but at the age of 16, while working in the local shoe factory he accidently cut off the top joint of his middle finter. This ended his ambitions to be in the sports field. Most agree that this unfortunate accident was the event that steered young Charles away from Sports and toward Business.
Charles Walgreens interest in pharmacy dated from the time he completed his studies at the Dixon Business College. At that time he was employed by D.S. Horton, a druggist in Dixon where he was apprenticed as a pharmacist. He went to work at Horton's Drugs Store for the sum of $4.00 per week. Charles had determined that he would like to becoma a Pharmacist and he hoped that working in the Drug Store would give him a boost toward that direction. His job at Horton's did not turn out well. He found that filling orders and and working behind a cash register was tedious and most of all boring! About a year after he started his job at Horton's he made the decision to quit. He didn't think he was getting paid enough and he wasn't satisfied working for someone else.
Charles went to Chicago around 1893 looking for work. He was employed with several good Pharmacies in the City of Chicago for several years. He continually grew more dissatisfied with what he was seeing. He was amidst outdated methods, with old fashioned store proprietors with no desire to do better. He didn't see that anyone was going out of their way to give the customer complete satisfaction. He didn't see any good modes of advertising and nothing was displayed very well. His only answer was to open a Drug Store of his own. In
Finally in 1901 he had saved enough money to buy his own place. He purchased the Drug Store in which he was currently working, owned by Isaac Blood. The price was $6,000. The store was located on Chicago's South Side at the corner of Cottage Grove Avenue and Bowen Avenue. He immediately redecorated the store - brought in bright lights and colorful and tasteful advertising. He brought in new and different merchandise that had never before been sold in a Drug Store. His customers were warmly welcomed and customer service was the name of the game. The most ingenious thing that Charles Walgreen did was to put in a Soda Fountain. What person in early 1900's didn't enjoy an old fashioned Ice Cream Soda and Walgreens or bite into one of the best B.L.T's you ever tasted?
The rest of Charles Walgreen's life is history. He married Myrtle Ruth Norton in Seattle, Kings County WA on the 18th of August 1902. When Charles Walgreen died, on 11 December 1939 in Chicago, he had amassed a fortune, his family was well taken care of and his stores were over the top. His son Charles Walgreen Jr. took over the business. Always a planner - always a visionary - always just one step ahead of what the customer wanted. He always will be "one of our own".. his character, formed and set right here in Dixon.
Mr. Walgreens interest in pharmacy dated from the time he completed his studies at the Dixon Business College. At that time he was employed by D.S. Horton, a druggist in Dixon and he was apprenticed as a pharmacist.