I like to show you today a room, which is privately own and not open to the public – therefore you would might never see it. If you stand in front of the oldest existing Pharmacy in Saint Gallen (Stern Apotheke, Burggraben 28), you will discover a tower on top. Me and many of my female friends wondered for a long time, what this tower is for or what is in it. It’s obvious that in our dreams full of fairy tales a charming prince lives in it or an old magician cook his Unicorn-Drinks. However… today I’ve visited this magical tower!
Some days ago, I’ve visited a friend in the same building and he told me the story about the room in the tower. «The owner of the pharmacy has been collecting many old records and a lot more for many years and built his own museum.» he told me. «Just ask him, if you can see it.». And that’s how it started. The same day, I wrote Mr. Alther, if it is possible to see his «Wonder Emporium» and finally… today was the day! Many steps of stairs lead up to the tower and when Mr. Alther opened the door, I definitely wasn’t disappointed.
There were no prince and no magician but a skeleton which gives me a friendly welcome with his smile. The house was shrouded in mist – I think if it had been dark too and the only light had been candles – I would have expected the old magician behind me. But luckily nothing like this happened – everything’s fine! I saw old recipe books, many different glass vessels, percolators, weights, an iron scale, mortar with pestle, old cans and pictures and a lot more. I didn’t have the confidence to stay there for a long time – but I know, I definitely could spend hours here! Reading all the books and opening all drawers and of course… working on my own magic potion!
But back to the story: This room belong to Andreas Alther the owner of the «Stern Apotheke» in third generation! The story about the «Stern Aptheke» begins in 1803. The pharmacist Daniel Meyer and the doctor Kaspar Tobias founded a pharmacy together. In 1861 the new owner Conrad Rehsteiner moved the pharmacy to the house called «to the stars» in the Spisergasse 19 and thats where the name comes from. Finally in 1913 the pharmacy takes place where it is now and the first generation of the during family tradition begins. 1. Generation: Robert Mario Alther (1885 – 1964), 2. Generation: Dr. Robert C. Alther (1923 – 1991) with his wife Christel Alther-Tanner (1924 – 1990) and finally the 3. Generation: Dr. Andreas Alther-Leu and his wife Annemarie Alther-Leu.
Last but not least, I like to say again: Thank you Mr. Alther, for showing me your beautiful tower and your absolutely remarkable and impressive collection!