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A name on a shelf

Updated: Apr 1, 2021

The Manistee County Historical Museum’s main building is in what used to be the A. H. Lyman Drug Store. This was the largest drug store in the county. In addition to retail, it was the wholesale distribution center for pharmacies throughout northern Michigan.

The basement of the building was used for warehousing and for wholesale distribution. It is in this part of the building that former employees left behind "graffiti" – usually in the form of their name painted on the walls or shelves.

One such example of that graffiti are the words “Ferd Cronquist” with a line of flourish underneath painted on the end of one of the basement shelves. This is about 50 feet from where I volunteer scanning photos for the Museum.

Ferdinand “Ferd” Cronquist was my grandmother’s half-brother.

Ferd was the third of three children to Frank and Anna Cronquist. Anna is my great grandmother. Anna was born as Anna Eliasdatter Harnes in Norway. She came to the United States, to Muskegon and then Manistee. In Manistee she met Frank Cronquist and married him. They lived off an alley between Fifth and Fourth Streets, east of Sibben Street. Later in life they lived at Ninth and Lexington Streets in Manistee. Frank was a janitor for Manistee schools. The family was active in the Norwegian Lutheran Church at Fourth and Cypress Streets (now a chiropractor’s office).

Ferd was born July 28, 1899 and grew up in Manistee. After working for the A. H. Lyman Drug Store he was in the United States Coast Guard. In the 1930s he was married, to Jessie Cronquist, and relocated to Chicago. They adopted a daughter, Katie. In Chicago he was part of the management team for the Edgwater Beach Hotel.

Later, the family moved to California. He was the Manager of the Hollywood Equitable Building, Office Buildings Associates, in Los Angeles. They did not keep touch with younger generations in the family and contact was lost when his brother and half-sister Anna died.

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