DR. PEPPER BOTTLING COMPANY

The Bluefield Daily Telegraph announced on April 22, 1937 that the Dr. Pepper Bottling Company was opening a branch plant in Bluefield, VA, and that machinery was being installed by a force from Johnson City, Tennessee.(2) This is interesting, because the Dr. Pepper Bottling Company of Johnson City, Tennessee had just opened in March of 1936, and was itself a branch of a Dr. Pepper bottler in Greenville, Texas. The question remains as to whether or not this bottler is connected to the Johnson City bottler, or someone who having that franchise already taken decided to grab the nearest one available. The "Doctor Pepper Bottling Company of Bluefield" was incorporated on July 23, 1937 with A. J. Higgins as President, T. H. Morris as Vice President, both of Johnson City, Tenn., C. Emmett Conner, of Bluefield, as Secretary and Treasurer. The first location was at 708 Virginia Avenue in Bluefield, VA, which had originally been the Virginia Theatre during the 1920ís.(1)

In 1940 it appears that they have moved to 1128 Virginia Avenue, which is on the corner of Virginia and Greer Avenue, and had been a garage in 1938.(2) They have moved back to 708 Virginia Avenue by 1941, and moved to 104-106 Collage Ave by 1942.(2) In 1944 Emmett Conner is still listed as manager, and they are still at the College Avenue location.(1) It appears that the company has been sold to L. Harvey Kiser sometime around 1946. The company's original corporation charter is dissolved by order of the State Corporation Commission on April 1, 1948. In December 1951 it is announced by L. H. Kiser that the company will move into a new and larger plant at 1302 Virginia Ave.(3) In 1968 the company, along with its franchise, was bought by J. G. Conner, then president of the Bluefield Coca-Cola Bottling Company.(3) The brand would then be bottled at the Bluefield Coca-Cola Bottling Company plant in Bluefield, WV.(3) L. Harvey Kiser went on to create the Kwik Kafe Company in Bluefield, VA.





Dr. Pepper at 708 Virginia Ave est. 1937-1940. It was just on the otherside of the creek on what is now a small park



Dr. Pepper at 1128 Virginia Ave est. 1940-1941, as it stands today.



Dr. Pepper at 104-106 Collage Ave est. 1944-1954. I would estimate that we would be looking straight at it if it was still standing, unfortunately it is now a parking lot.



Dr. Pepper at 1302 Virginia Ave est. 1954-1968. The lot it stood on is now a gas station.









From the collection of Frank Anderson, photo by Joseph Lee
12oz Five Points Beverages bottle dated 1939. Yet another Johnson City connection is this Five Points bottle, a brand which Dr. Pepper of Johnson City also bottled at the same time. More and more I feel there is a connection between these two bottlers.









A 10oz Nesbittís Orange Drink bottle, Iíve been racking my brain trying to place this bottle, because it is from the early 1940ís, but doesnít have a date or bottling company mentioned. It only has a town name which is Bluefield, VA. From much deduction there is only one bottler that makes sense bottling Nesbittís in Bluefield, VA in the early 1940ís, and that would have to be the Dr. Pepper Bottling Company.



A Dr. Pepper ad from September 19, 1938







6 1/2oz Dr. Pepper "Good for life" debossed bottle dated 1941.




The bottom of the bottle.







6 1/2oz Dr. Pepper "Good for life" debossed bottle made by the Chattanooga Glass Company unfortunately it has no date.




The bottom of the bottle.









7oz Circle A Beverages bottle dated 1947



Circle A Orange bottle cap







6 1/2oz Dr. Pepper "Good for life" debossed bottle in the same green glass as the later debossed bottles, from all evidence I've seen this was a 1951 variation only.




The bottom of the bottle.







6oz Dr. Pepper debossed bottle dated 1953.




The bottom of the bottle.









9oz Circle A Sparkling Beverages bottle dated 1957



Circle A Grape bottle cap







6oz Dr. Pepper debossed bottle dated 1958.




The bottom of the bottle.









9oz Circle A Sparkling Beverages bottle dated 1963









16oz Dietetic Dr. Pepper bottle dated 1963. No town name on the bottle, but has it on the cap and was found with many other full local bottles in an old store.



According to this receipt not only was the company bottling Dr. Pepper, Dr. Pepper Dietetic, Circle A, but also Lotta Cola and Tom Collins Jr.









16oz Diet Dr. Pepper bottle dated 1966



Lotta Cola bottle cap



While this Lotta Cola isn't from Bluefield, VA it is an example of this brand's bottle from the correct period.



Lotta Cola bottle crate



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Biblography:

(1) Polk's Bluefield City Directory

(2) Bluefield Daily Telegraph

(3) Dr Pepper Clock Dial magazine