Joseph Tuttle and Tuttle Drugs

The Petaluma Elks 901 Baseball Team 1924. Photo courtesy Sam Brown

I recently met Sam Brown, grandson of Joe Tuttle – founder of Petaluma’s Tuttle Drug. Sam brought in this wonderful photo and allowed me to scan it for the Library’s collection. Since it will be some time before we are able to catalog the image I thought I’d share it here.

The photo appeared in the Petaluma Argus Courier on June 30, 1949. The Argus identified the players as left to right, top row: Joe Tuttle, second base; Bob Ayers, center field; Bill Evart, pitcher; middle row, Alden White, short stop; Wis Studdert, first base; Dr. F.H. Phillips, manager; Ned White third base; Jack Lauritzen, pitcher and left field; bottom row, Bill Thomas, right field; Ham Farrell, catcher. Any of these names sound familiar? If so, be sure to let me know.

Using the Library’s subscription to and other sources I discovered that Joseph Wilford Tuttle was born in Petaluma on September 9, 1884, to Cyrus and Margaret Tuttle. Cyrus came to Petaluma from Canada as a boy with his parents in 1870 and grew up to become a rancher. Margaret was from Ireland and like her husband came to the United States as a child.

Decorating parking meters in front of Tuttle Drug Co. at 113 Main Street, Petaluma – 1955. SCL Photo No. 11762

When the Elks baseball team photo shown above was taken, Joe was 40 years old and a veteran pharmacist. After graduating from University of California San Francisco in 1906 Joe went to work for John Clark of the Clark Drug Company at 113 Main Street. Some time later Mr. Clark sold the business to Joe and J.W. Tuttle Drugs was established. In 1912, Joe married Agnes Breckwoldt, daughter of Julius and Louise Breckwoldt. The couple had two children: Margaret (Sam’s mother) and Lloyd.

Construction of Tuttle Drug Co. at 132 Keller Street, Petaluma – 1967. SCL Photo No. 12818

Joe Tuttle retired from life as a pharmacist and drug store owner in 1940 and for a time enjoyed hunting and fishing. After World War II, Mr. Tuttle decided to return to work and became a deputy county assessor and later tax collector for the City of Petaluma. He sold the drug store to Lester Pometta and Ray Butler who retained the Tuttle Drugs name. Harold Erikson, who joined the firm as a partner in 1945 and later bought Butler’s and Pometta’s interests in separate deals to become sole owner.

In 1967 the Tuttle Drug Company, as it was now known, moved to 132 Keller Street. The store closed in 2004 and today the building is occupied by the Social Club restaurant.

About Katherine J. Rinehart

Katherine J. Rinehart received a MA in History from Sonoma State University in 1994. For the past 19 years, Ms. Rinehart has worked in various positions within the fields of Cultural Resource Management and Historic Preservation and is currently employed by the Sonoma County Library where she has worked in the Sonoma County History and Genealogy Department since 2002. Katherine is the author of Petaluma: A History in Architecture, a contributor to Celebrating Petaluma published by the Petaluma Sesquicentennial Committee and the Petaluma Visitors Program. Ms. Rinehart is an occasional contributor to the Press Democrat and is proud to be a Petaluma Good Egg.
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3 Responses to Joseph Tuttle and Tuttle Drugs

  1. Rayne Wolfe says:

    I still miss Tuttle’s! When we first moved here, it was the one place you knew you could find anything you wanted including those amazing embellished swimming caps or things like shelf lining paper. Thanks for the cool story!

  2. Katherine J. Rinehart says:

    Thanks Rayne! I miss Tuttle’s too. At least once a week I find myself wishing that I could just walk downtown to pick up a few items. Jean Nate, band aids, shoe laces, beanie weanies – they had it all.

  3. Albert Conklin says:

    Doing genealogy research on the Tuttle line. Can you be of any assistance?
    Here is what I have:
    James Tuttle b. 9 Dec 1871 Markwest, Ca. d. 10 Feb 1959 Oakville, Grays Harbor, Wa.
    M. Ida May Hill b. 6 Feb 1877 Ca. d. 16 May 1966.
    Married 26 May 1894 Sonoma, Sonoma, Ca.
    They had 7 children and I suspect James’ father to be Abner James Tuttle b. 22 Apr 1824 Rochester, Monroe, NY d. 30 May 1904 King Co., Wa.
    M. Anna Kennum/Kenum b. 4 Jul 1838 Kitsap Co, Wa. d. 1 Nov 1913 Kirkland, Wa.

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