Looking Back: Burns Drugs’ History with the La Jolla Blue Book


As one of La Jolla’s oldest and most beloved independent pharmacies is closing its doors this month, we took the time to look at Burns Drugs’ history with the La Jolla Blue Book. Burns Drugs has been in business since 1952, and been staunchly supported by La Jollans and generations of families alike for more than fifty years. Their practice has always emphasized customer service and community – many of the pharmacists know their clients by name, and their legendary home delivery service has provided at-home care and pharmaceutical supplies to those who wouldn’t otherwise be able to access them. Even the building where Burns Drugs resides is historic: the pharmacy has occupied the same space since 1952.

In the early decades of the 1900s, a double story building was built on Girard Avenue. Since that time it has housed grocery stores, a Masonic Lodge and at one time, a US Post Office. In 1952, it was purchased by Robert Burns and Strother Kay and has been home to Burns Drugs ever since.

The drugstore began advertising with the Blue Book the very first year it opened in 1952 and been in our directory ever since. Their ads have changed quite a bit since the 50s, and offer unique insight into how advertising has progressed and, gradually, taken on an incredibly vital role in terms of business and success. Take a look at how Burns Drugs has evolved with the Blue Book over the years:

1952: The year Burns Drugs opened, and their first advertisement in the Book.

Burns Drugs' History with the Blue Book: 1952

1957: A little bit larger and slightly more detailed

Burns Drugs' History with the Blue Book

1979: Their first photo ad! The old storefront looks quite similar to how it does today.


1989: A landmark. Their first full-page advertisement.


2005: The full-page ad is now a bit more detailed and contains a lot more text – they’ve clearly expanded!


2012: One of their most recent ads – full color, a bit smaller, and concise.


What are some of your memories of Burns Drugs? Share your memories with the La Jolla community by using hashtag #LaJollaBB

[old storefront image courtesy of burnsdrugs.com]

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