in 1951 a dream was built
in 1951 Raymond and Mary Lou Nielsen built this now historic building to house Raymond's pharmacy - Penguin Pharmacy. His intention was to have a community health center, with his pharmacy downstairs and doctor's offices upstairs. Although Raymond was a pharmacist he had a holistic approach. He didn't immediately prescribe pharmaceuticals. His initial consult generally was around what we would now call ancient remedies. He grew herbs in his backyard and prescribed those. His philosophy in our family was pharmaceuticals were a last resort. Kind of an odd philosophy for a Pharmacist but he knew there were other steps to try first to heal the sick.
He eventually moved his pharmacy to a third location* - at 32nd & Clay in the now bustling neighborhood of The Highlands in Denver. The Penguin Building has housed the post office, a ballet studio, a ceramicist studio, a pool hall, a Mexican restaurant and most recently a martial arts studio.
in December of 2015 space became available and Raymond's granddaughter, Marnie Quinn, decided it was the right time to continue the tradition of healing in the space her grandfather created. The foundation and intention was pure and aligned and the timing right.
*The first and original Penguin Pharmacy was located at 3965 West 73rd Avenue. Mary Lou & Raymond bought this location in 1947, christened it the Penguin Pharmacy, added onto the back to live with their rapidly expanding family.
Because somedays when you're being a little naughty love comes your way.....
In 1945 Mary Lou Welt frequented Hudson's Pharmacy during her lunch hour from work with her best friend Dorothy. One day she noticed a new display of Penguin cologne bottles all marching in a row in the Sundries section. She whispered to Dorothy that they should turn the heads of the penguins all backwards while no one was looking. One day Mary Lou headed downstairs to the drug store alone. She had been turning the heads around for some time and that day Raymond Nielsen caught her in the act.
He yelled "So you're the one turning around all the Penguin Heads!".
Mary Lou immediately ran out of the store in fear of the trouble she was in. She decided not to go back in to that pharmacy and went to the local competition instead. He was so excited to catch her alone that day that he seized the opportunity to talk to her. He didn't mean to scare her away! He had been watching her turn the penguin heads around and admiring Mary Lou from afar. Dorothy happened in one day by herself and Raymond stopped her, asked about her friend and if she'd be willing to set up a date for them.
A plan was set in motion. Dorothy told Mary Lou she would pick her up for the dance on Friday night, the girls would go together. On Friday night Mary Lou opened the door thinking it was Dorothy and saw Raymond standing there. She immediately slammed the door and yelled:
"I am not going anywhere with that old crab!".
Dorothy convinced Mary Lou to go to the dance, the ever persistent Raymond showed up, asked her to dance and the rest is history.....
Since that first encounter the Penguin has always been their love bird. It became the family totem. Raymond named the Pharmacy he started the Penguin Pharmacy and the Building they built the Penguin Building. They proceeded to have several locations for the Penguin Pharmacy and 5 little penguins of their own.
Penguins are a beautiful totem as they represent loyalty, love, happiness, and commitment.
More information on the Penguin Building history can be found HERE