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Tobin, Lou



  • Existence: September 14, 1910 - June 13, 1988

Local Jewish pharmacy owner on West Colfax Avenue.

Lou Tobin was born on September 14, 1910. He was born, raised, and spent most of his life on Denver's West Side. He was the only member of his family to attend college, and in the early 1930's, he graduated from the University of Denver with a degree in chemical engineering. He was unable to find a job in the field during the Depression, and instead, he bought books on pharmacy, studied them, and then took the State Board exams. He got his license "by examination" in 1933. He married Elsa Kaplan in 1937, and they had two children, Martin and Sherrie. The couple was married by Rabbi Manuel Laderman. Both children attended Colfax Elementary, Lake Junior High, and North High.

Lou purchased what was to become the original Tobin's Pharmacy on West Colfax and Newton in 1936 from a retiring pharmacist. At the time there were about 5 pharmacies in that area of West Colfax owned by Jewish pharmacists. He operated the drug store until 1948, when he opened a new larger pharmacy several blocks west, and was joined in business by his brother-in-law, Dave Herman. The new pharmacy featured a large front end that displayed cosmetics, over-the-counter medicines, toys, sundries, and household needs.

His future son-in-law, Howard Zeppelin, who went on to marry Sherrie in 1965, worked in the pharmacy alongside Lou, who mentored him. Lou gave Howard the opportunity to purchase the pharmacy in 1969, and Lou continued to work beside him for over 20 years until Lou passed away on June 13, 1988 at the age of 77. He was buried in Golden Hill Cemetery in Lakewood, CO. Howard continued operating Tobin's until 2005, when he was offered a buyout. Tobin's was the last independent drug store on West Colfax.

Found in 22 Collections and/or Records:

A Legacy of Healing: Early Colorado Jews in Medicine, 2005

Identifier: B230.03.0023.00004
Abstract Brief biographies of Jewish men and women who contributed to medicine, the Jewish community, and Colorado. Contains historical photographs and interviews with people who knew some of the early key figures.
Dates: 2005

Baby Martin and Lou Tobin, October 20, 1941

Identifier: B390.02.0002.00027
Abstract Photograph shows Lou holding his infant son, Martin Tobin. Written on the front is "Oct. 20 1941". Stamped on the back is "Oct 20 1941, Bri-Tone Prints Trade Mark Reg. Denver" Photograph is in black and white. Red corner-holders can be seen on the corners of the photograph itself.
Dates: October 20, 1941

Baby Martin at Tobin's Pharmacy Counter, August 17, 1942

Identifier: B390.02.0002.00007
Abstract Photograph shows baby Martin Tobin sitting on the pharmacy counter. A man working at the pharmacy is standing in the background. He is in several photographs, including B390.02.0002.00003. Pharmacy medicine bottles can be seen lining the walls. Written on front is "8/17/42". Photograph is in black and white.
Dates: August 17, 1942

Dave Herman, Elsa Tobin, and Lou Tobin

Identifier: B390.02.0002.00008
Abstract Photograph shows Dave Herman, Elsa Kaplan Tobin, and Lou Tobin standing together in the pharmacy. Written on back is "Dave Herman, Lou & Elsa". Photograph is a poloroid.
Dates: 1936-2005

Elsa and Lou Tobin

Identifier: B390.02.0002.00030
Abstract Photograph shows Elsa Kaplan Tobin and Lou Tobin sitting on a couch together. Lou is smoking a pipe. Photograph is in black and white.
Dates: 1936-2005

Elsa and Lou Tobin, 1987

Identifier: B390.02.0002.00037
Abstract Photograph shows Elsa Kaplan Tobin and Lou Tobin posing for a portrait together. Photograph was identified as being taken in 1987. Photograph is in color.
Dates: 1987

Elsa, Lou, and Frankie Bloom

Identifier: B390.02.0002.00028
Abstract Photograph shows Elsa Kaplan Tobin, Lou Tobin, and Frankie Bloom. The three are sitting together with cups, and Lou is smoking a pipe. The front is labeled "Elsa, Lou, Frankie Bloom". Photograph is in black and white.
Dates: 1936-2005

Freda and Charles Wenger, 1981

Identifier: B111.10.0010.0007
Abstract Freda Cohen and Charles Wanger were married in Rocky Ford in 1931. Both came from large Jewish Russian immigrant families. They moved to Denver after the birth of their three children.
Dates: 1981

List of Denver Jewish Pharmacists

Identifier: B390.01.0001.00005
Abstract List of "Denver Jewish Pharmacists". Lists 12 pharmacies and drug stores, along with associated pharmacists, and family members. Typed.
Dates: 1936-1986

Lou Tobin, January 24, 1941

Identifier: B390.02.0002.00029
Abstract Photograph shows Lou Tobin standing in the living room of a house in his pharmacist uniform. Written on the back is "Lou". Stamped on the back is "Jan 24 1941, Bri-Tone Prints Trade Mark Reg. Denver", and "Howard Zeppelin 5295 E Nassau Cir., Englewood, CO 80110". Photograph is in black and white.
Dates: January 24, 1941