|Ed Marks at a wedding about 1945
About ‘Buzz Saw’ Marks
This is going to be about a pharmacy on the corner of Railroad Ave. and Church St. I was about to refer to it as an Elmira institution, but then, no one likes to enter an institution and people do like to enter Ed Marks’ place.
Ed has been doing business at the same old stand for 37 years. The times and Ed have changed, but some of the customers are the same.
The other day an Elmira minister asked “Buzz Saw,” as Ed is known by more than a few of his flock, to fill a prescription for a throat spray he uses before every Sunday service.
Ed noticed in his records that he had been providing the minister with the same tonic for 28 years. “I told the reverend that I’ve helped him preach a great many sermons.”
About the nickname – Buzz Saw.
It came about when the pharmacy became the headquarters for members of the younger set.
“I knew I’d have to let the boys know I was running things,” Ed recalls, “and I told them what they could do and what they couldn’t do. For instance, I won’t let them hang around here if they’re skipping school.
“To try to get a little respect from them, I said that when I was in the ring I was known as Gorilla Marks, the Human Buzz Saw. I was joking, of course, but they’ve been calling me Buzz Saw ever since.”
Ed doesn’t mind the tag. His wife, however, wasn’t overjoyed when she walked out of church one Sunday and overheard someone referring to her as Mrs. Buzz Saw.
Ed’s place, the Federation Pharmacy, is as much a social club as it is a spot to fill prescriptions.
“I couldn’t live without the associations I have here,” Ed says. “We have all types, from stockbrokers to kids, and most of them come in regularly. And we get letters every week from kids in college and in the service. A fellow appreciates things like that.”
The Federations sells an average of 600 cups of coffee a day, with cream, sugar and conversation.
Sometimes it is difficult for Ed to understand why the world is in such bad shape.
“All problems are settled over our lunch counter several times a week,” he says.
As a guy who can take juke boxes or leave them alone – and prefers to do the latter – I can’t help but admire Ed’s clientele.
His juke box is rarely used. “Once or twice a day someone drops a nickel in the thing,” he says, “but none of our regular club members ever do.”
Perhaps that’s why business is so good at the corner of Railroad Ave. and Church St.
I've attached an old Elmira Star Gazette article about the pharmacy, unfortunately I don't know the date of the article. The photograph attached is Mr. Marks, circa 1945 at Our Lady of Lourdes Church.
Patrick A. Patterson