Criminal Defense Team works from Drug Dealer’s Home

I am a criminal defense attorney and I work in a drug dealer’s home. Well, at least for a few more weeks. June 16th will be the last day that the law firm of Hatch, Little and Bunn will reside at 327 Hillsborough Street. On that day, our office will move to the corporate building at 2626 Glenwood Avenue, across from the Harris Teeter.

But back to the good part. Yes, our current offices are located in a drug dealer’s home. The drug dealer was a gentleman by the name of Henry Hicks, who in the early 1900s operated a chain of drugstores in Raleigh and manufactured a drug called “Hicks Capudine Liquid”. It was advertised “for relief of pain and discomfort in simple headaches and neuralgia, muscular aches and pains – aching discomforts accompanying colds – tends to reduce fever.” A box of Capudine held by The National Museum of American History indicates the drug was priced at 30 cents and was manufactured by the Capudine Chemical Company in Raleigh, NC.

A report from a 1964 edition of The Raleigh Times indicates that at one time the drug “became so popular it ranked second in sales nationally coming only behind bromo seltzer as a headache remedy.”

So what made this magic liquid so great? The front of a bottle indicates that Capudine was composed of antipyrin, caffeine, bromides, salicylate and other ingredients. Based on the list of articulated substances, I would be surprised if today the Capudine elixir would make its way onto a DEA controlled substance schedule. However, it’s the “other ingredients” that stoke the imagination. I would surmise that Capudine was a predecessor to the over the counter pain and fever relievers of today. Regardless, it was very profitable for the Hicks family.

The Capudine proceeds provided for a wonderful home for the Hicks family. Located on a plot at the intersection of Hillsborough and Harrington streets, the Hicks family residence took two years to build. It still sits in its original location, which is directly across the street from The Second Empire Restaurant. At the time it was built, the home was state of the art. Each room had a bell for service. There was also a central vacuum cleaner installation located in the basement with outlets located throughout the house. A German craftsman was hired to do stenciling on the living room plaster. A beautiful double deck front porch adorned the exterior. In the 1930s, a private elevator was installed. The same elevator is still operational today, complete with its old school accordion gate.

In 1940, Mr. Hicks passed. His wife died sometime later in 1960. At some point, the Capudine product was purchased by Pearson Pharmaceutical Company of Miami. As of March 1964, the drug was still being produced in the Pearson Pharmaceutical plant in Bloomfield, NJ.

In the 1960s, the law firm of Hatch, Little & Bunn, purchased and renovated the aging home. At the time, one of the big, high-tech renovations was the gas fireplace that was installed in the library. The ornamental porches were removed to make way for client parking. The firm has been at this location since. While we look forward to our move, we will be sad to go.

There is no reason to believe that the Capudine Company and the Hicks family were anything but lawful. However, there is lots to imagine, dream, and create when thinking of the Capudine Empire that arose out of Raleigh. We will miss the old Hicks home and the stories that go with it.


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