West Texas Drug Store Saloon

The Texas Story Project.

Gene Keel owned the historic Keel Drugstore in Ballinger, Texas. Ballinger was a little train stop town on the railroad created by Andrew Carnegie who was expanding his steel empire through West Texas. Sheep and goat ranches dominated San Angelo, then known as the Mohair Capitol of the World, and used the train access in Ballinger to ship sheep and goats back East. Carnegie built one of his famous libraries in Ballinger as part of his public relations campaign expanding the railroad.

Keel's Drugstore was a wild wild west hangout where everyone frequented the soda fountains and bar carrying their sidearms and sharing local news daily at the drugstore. After his passing Keel sold the store to his young apprentice Norval Meredith who was an avid hunter who amassed a collection of over 300 antlers he stored in the attic above the pharmacy. Norval maintained the pharmacy wild west style for many years. Then the Ballinger Memorial Hospital District bought Keel Drug and relocated it to its current location.

Pharmacist Philip Rolland completed the relocation and upgrade to modern computer systems, new wholesaler and new drug management programs that were later adapted by big name competitors like Wal-Mart. Dr. Rolland started the medication synchronization refill system and began conducting proactive drug utilization reviews for pharmacy customers. He contracted with a company to obtain 340-b drug pricing for the pharmacy to lower drug costs for residents even including Wal-Mart to participate with himself as the program administrator. Dr. Rolland created a collaborative practice agreement with the clinic medical staff and hospice physicians to provide pain management services to terminally ill patients. Keel Drug and Ballinger continue to benefit from the innovations implemented from the early days of an old fashion West Texas Drug Store that evolved into a modern high end clinical services, compounding and DME pharmacy.


Dr. Rolland is a Louisiana Pharmacist who completed his post-graduate Doctor of Pharmacy at UAMS in Little Rock and completed an ASHP Residency at the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare Administration in Little Rock, AR. He was licensed in Texas in 1997 and lived in San Angelo and Ballinger, Texas.

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