Thursday, February 27, 2020

Coca Cola Bottling Plant, Covington

The old Coca Cola Bottling Co. building in Covington is still standing, but in 1953 was converted into Talley's Feed & Seed Co. on North Columbia Street for many years, followed by Spencer Feed and Seed, and is now O'Keefe Feed and Seed. Click on the images to make them larger.

Here's a picture of the original building at 900 North Columbia Street. The two old trucks shown are Model T Fords. Standing in the door, left to right, are Bennie Aouielle and his father J. M. Aouielle. Standing by the trucks are Willie Bickham and Sonny Brown. The elder Aouielle owned the building and the son managed the plant.

According to the sign on the upper right side of the building, it was also the home of the Pineland Spring Bottling Works. 

Here's a brief description of the Pineland Spring enterprise published in the January 24, 1920, issue of the St. Tammany Farmer. 

 Trucks are loaded with Coca-Cola ready to be sent out to grocery stores and restaurants across St. Tammany. From left are Leroy Barker, Ben Aouielle and T.C. Galloway.

(Photo of Covington Coca-Cola bottle by Stephen Alexius)

Here's what the building looks like today
Coca-cola bottling plants were located in many small towns, and there is even a webpage dedicated to showing pictures of them.

Coca-Cola has an interesting history. It was invented by a Confederate Colonel who was looking for a substitute for getting people off of morphine addiction. John Pemberton (July 8, 1831 – August 16, 1888) was an American biochemist and Civil War veteran who used his pharmacy skills to develop the formula of Coca-Cola in May of 1886.

It was first made and sold in the Atlanta area and marketed as a non-alcoholic "temperance" drink. Sold out of drug store soda fountains, at one time it was considered a patent medicine. 

Then the bottling and distribution industry began for the drink as its popularity grew due to aggressive marketing techniques. It was first bottled in Vicksburg, Miss., by a man who lived in Monroe, Louisiana. That was Joseph Augustus Biedenharn. His home is now a museum complete with Coca-cola exhibits. He was credited with originating the massively successful bottling and distribution concept for the drink. A few years later, he bought and enlarged a crop-dusting aviation company that later became Delta Airlines.

See Wikipedia article for details.