The California Pharmacy
The cornerstone, both literally and figuratively, of the 33rd and California Street area was
and is, the California Pharmacy building owned by members of the Bogard family. The
father, Jules (known as Frank) Bogard, immigrated from Belgium in about 1904. He was
an engineer at the old Nicholas Senn Hospital. He returned to Belgium in 1910 to claim
his bride, Emily. They were married in Paris and for their honeymoon took the trip back
across the Atlantic to the U. S. and Omaha. Prominently displayed on the north side of
the building is the date, “1914,” the year in which Frank built the pharmacy. The original
store occupied only half the present area. It was expanded to its present size when
Wohlner’s Grocery to the east moved to its Leavenworth site in 1940.
California Pharmacy
Frank and Emily had nine children. They lived at 325 North 35th Avenue. The five boys:
George, Joseph, Frank, Paul and Thomas all graduated from the Creighton School of
Pharmacy. Of the four girls: Mary, Alice, Elva and Marjorie, two attended Creighton.
Frank, Sr. died in 1933 leaving his large family on their own, but he had provided well.
The pharmacy business kept them employed in one way or another. Tom Bogard tells of
being helped to sit on a high stool at age 10 and taught to fill and weigh powder papers
for the required prescriptions. Emily Bogard lived in the Gifford Park area until her death
in 1985.

A soda fountain was a prominent feature of the pharmacy. This was a fancy marble-
topped bar on the East Side of the store. There were several barstools and behind the
counter the nine Bogard boys and girls were the “soda jerks,” holding that job as their
ages and school permitted. The soda fountain was a wonderful thing. It was fitted with
wells for ice cream; levers for soda; scoops for chocolate, strawberry, and caramel; an ice
bin (blocks of ice were shaved by the soda jerks for this); and electric beaters for malts
and things. Soda water was produced in the basement and pumped up to the fountain. Ice
cream cones with two scoops of ice cream were 5 cents. An ice cream soda was 15 cents
and plain Coca-Cola was just a nickel. They made lime fizzes; chocolate fudge nut
sundaes; malted milk shakes; a drink called “Green River” which was a mix of lime syrup,
soda water, and a squirt of lactic acid; and many other soft drinks and sundaes.

Just plain carbonated water was 2 cents a glass and was popular with older members of
the community. The soda fountain enjoyed its popularity partly because the old icebox
used in most homes would not keep ice cream: they weren’t cold enough. People
appreciated the availability of cold things at the corner store.
Bogard, who owned the store before Tom, was tragically shot in March of 1976 in an
attempted hold-up. He sustained a spinal cord injury and spent the rest of his life in a
wheel chair. Although he did not continue in the pharmacy, he became prominent in
Omaha as a member of the Omaha School Board, serving from 1978 to 1990, and was
President in 1981. He became an advocate for handicapped people and an actor, playing
the leading role in “The Man Who Came to Dinner,” produced by the Grande Olde
Players. Frank died in 1990.
California Tacos & More
The California Pharmacy was a pioneer and a model for drug stores. It was the first store
to use florescent lights, the first air conditioned pharmacy, the first to have a complete
terrazzo floor, and the first to use a computer to record prescriptions. The California
Pharmacy closed in 1987, BUT, the name of Bogard continues on 33rd and California as
Tom’s son, Brad, opened the store again as “The California Tacos & More” in 1996.


Bogard, Tom, Interview October 1995
Gifford Park Neighborhood Association
P.O. Box 31462, Omaha, NE 68131-0462
Gifford Park
History Book
At the end of WW II, and as the
electric refrigerator became a part
of everyone’s household, the old
soda fountain became obsolete
and the pharmacy lost its big
attraction. The space gave way to
a greater assortment of drug store
items such as cards, magazines,
cosmetics, small appliances, knick-
knacks, etc.

The drugstore business was not
without it’s hazards. There were
many break-ins. Tom recalls that
he was summoned to the California
store many nights with the report
that someone had broken through
the roof of the store attempting to
steal money or drugs.  Frank