What is likely the best-preserved Fletcher’s Castoria advertisement remaining in NYC can be found on Archer Avenue just east of Sutphin Boulevard, in the shadow of the massive Long Island Railroad / AirTrain station in beautiful downtown Jamaica.
Fletcher’s Castoria, marketed as a gentle stomach remedy for kids, has been sold since 1871 when Charles Henry Fletcher purchased the rights to a formula developed by Dr. Samuel Pitcher as a cathartic. It has been marketed ever since then, though in recent years the “Castoria,” (for castor oil) has been dropped and it’s now called Fletcher’s Laxative for Kids, though adults can also use it.
Castoria was marketed extensively through much of the 20th Century, with large painted ads appearing on sides of buildings in major cities. The paint used proved quite resistant to sun bleaching; only during the last 20 years have they started to fade considerably. Buildings like this one that see limited sun can preserve them better; perhaps other signs placed over them also obscured them.
Photo: Gary Fonville