Charles H. Fletcher began selling his Castoria, a mild stomach remedy for children, in 1871, acquiring the patent from its inventor Dr. Samuel Pitcher. The medicine was heavily promoted on ads and billboards in the late 1800s and early part of the 20th Century, and evidently the paint used for the ads was of a very high grade, because several ads survive to this day all over town. Fletcher’s Laxative, as it is now called, is still sold today, distributed by Mentholatum.
This ad was recently located by Gary Fonville at 860 Liberty Avenue at Milford Street. It’s considerably faded but still quite visible, with Fletcher’s distinctive, swashy signature. It must have been spectacular until the 1970s or so.