Bottling company forms in AustinPublished 4:36pm Saturday, August 11, 2012
Austin Bottling Works, Inc. was founded in 1924 by George Wilson and his father-in-law Dr. Charles F. Lewis. Wilson was a Scottish immigrant who worked in sales for Geo. A Hormel & Co. in Texas and Alabama before coming to Austin. Wilson married Marjorie Lewis, daughter of one of the founders of the Austin Medical Clinic.
The first plant was located at 400 Second Street NE (near the current Austin Daily Herald). By 1930, the plant moved to 403 4th Ave NE (near the old downtown utility plant). The business focused on bottling and sales of soft drinks and the sales of fountain supplies such as extracts, cider, crushed fruit and cleaning supplies. In 1949, a new plant was built at 1600 1st Ave NE (across from East Side Lake).
Back in the 1920s, Coca Cola was less popular and, according to Wilson family legend, George Wilson would slip a bottle into a case of more popular grape, cherry or orange flavored sodas to build exposure to the product. George’s sons, James and Charles took over the family business and it remained a pillar of the community for decades. Changing with the times, the bottling company eventually became a distributor and dropped bottling several years before it was sold in 2002.
This week at the HHH
Tuesday: Visit from Kids’ Korner at 9:30 a.m.
Wednesday: Tour from St. Paul at 2:30 p.m.
•4th Avenue Arts Triathlon: Offered by the Austin Public Library, Historic Paramount Theatre and the HHH on Wednesday, Aug. 22, this free event is a chance to exercise your arts at three locations and have fun will experiencing visual arts, poetry and performance. Call the library at 433-2391 for details.
Battle of Birch Coulie: Lecture by author John Christgau on this Dakota War battle in 1862 in Renville Co, Minn. Offered by the Austin Public Library, Mower County Historical Society and the HHH at noon on Wednesday, Aug. 29. Free and open to the public.