History of the Central Apothecary of Cartago

According to Jesús Mata Gamboa, author of the book “Monografía de Cartago”, the oldest pharmaceutical establishment in the city was founded in 1850, it was the Guzmán pharmacy and the following year, Dr. Jorge Guier founded the Guier pharmacy. The third and only one of the oldest that still exists is the Central Apothecary.

Although there is no knowledge of the date or year that Gerardo Coma founded the Botica Central, according to Mata Gamboa, it was in 1896, when Dr. Maximiliano Peralta Jiménez returned from his studies in the United States, when he was given a new orientation and push to business, by forming a partnership with Salvador Oreamuno and José María Peralta.

This society made sure that the prices and quality of drugs in the Central Apothecary were favorable for people with limited economic resources, which made it the favorite for many years.

As is well known, the earthquake of May 4, 1910, practically devastated all the existing buildings in the city of Cartago and, therefore, the building that originally housed Botica Central.

After the event, its owner, Dr. Max Peralta, not only built his new residence, but also, and immediately adjacent, his medical office and prescription office. Miguel Guzmán Stein, in the 1995 Herencia Magazine, says: “Along with Max’s home, he built an elegant, but discreet corner building that he used for his medical office and an apothecary where the Boñiga Club was once” . By this name they referred to the meeting place of the wealthy of the time.

After Dr. Peralta, the Botica Central had other owners such as the well-remembered Consuelo Messeguer, who, not being a pharmacist, enjoyed the trust of clients for three decades, from 1962 to 1992. Then her daughter Luisa Garzona Messeguer succeeded her.

In 2009 the building underwent a restoration by the owner organization and from that moment it became a small shopping center where the Carthaginians come for health advice and medicines, just as they have done in the same place for more than a century. (Source: Sonia Lucrecia Gómez Vargas, historian of the Center for Research and Conservation of Cultural Heritage).

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