Before the era of “Big Soda,” regional soft drinks occupied a greater share of retail shelves than they do today. Our November Artifacts of the Month offer a window into that time.
We found these two rather ordinary looking vintage soda bottles last year at an antique store in Burlington, N.C. These brands are no longer made but serve as a reminder of the many different carbonated beverages once sold alongside soft drink giants Pepsi and Coca-Cola. We’ll add these bottles to Gallery holdings related to North Carolina and the history of carbonated beverages.
Sun-Rise Beverages began selling soda in 1910 in North Tazewell, Virginia. The Sun-Rise line offered root beer and fruit-flavored drinks such as Black Cherry and Lemon Sour. The company was sold a number of times in the twentieth century before Coca-Cola took over bottling and distribution in the 1950s. This bottle from the 1960s or 70s comes from the Burlington, N.C. Coca-Cola bottling plant.
Our research into the story of the Smith Beverage Company has been less fruitful. The company was located in Burlington, but little information exists about it. An advertisement in the Burlington Daily-Times News of January 24, 1950 indicates that the Smith Beverage Company also distributed Cheerwine, a soft drink introduced in Salisbury by Lewis D. Peeler in 1917.
Before Cheerwine, Peeler first held a bottling franchise for a short-lived brand of soda called Mint Cola, which was headquartered in Tennessee.
Peeler developed the less sweet cherry-flavored Cheerwine in response to sugar shortages during World War I.
Do you know anything more about Smith Beverage Company in Burlington? Please tell us in the comments!
“The only time I tried to directly interrogate my grandparents on race was in the early 1990s. Having learned about Greensboro’s importance in the civil rights movement from a class in college, I asked them what they remembered about the years of school desegregation and the Woolworth sit-ins. There followed a long pause, punctuated by the tick-tock of a half-dozen wind-up clocks….
“My people were fighting to preserve white supremacy [in the Patriots of North Carolina], but I never would have known about their efforts without digging through archives….”
— From “Hiding in plain sight” by David Neal at Scalawag (July 8, 2015)
“In Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of ‘separate but equal.’ The case marks the start of the Jim Crow era in the South. In the decades that followed, African-Americans would not fare well…. A Chatham County study in the 1920s showed that the average annual income of 102 black tenants was $257; an average white tenant’s income was $626….
“North Carolina’s black population steadily dropped. Immediately after the Civil War, African-Americans constituted a third of the state’s population. By 1940, the number was down to 27.5 percent….
“In 1916, 87 percent of the state’s counties reported labor shortages. In 1920, Gov. Thomas Bickett addressed the General Assembly, proclaiming that the state would welcome back 25,000 African-Americans. ‘[T]he South is the best place in the world for a decent negro to make a decent living,’ he said. He went on to note, however, that the state was not interested in ‘negroes [who] have become tainted or intoxicated with dreams of social equality or of political dominion … for in the South such things are forever impossible.’
“Five years later, Bickett’s successor, Gov. Angus W. McLean, told a crowd at the Negro State Fair: ‘There is no longer a real race problem in the South. It exists only in the minds of those, white and colored, who are seeking selfish advancement; who are trying to intimidate others, and have no better weapon than the cowardly appeal to racial prejudice and racial antipathy.’ ”
— From “Blood and ballots: African-Americans’ battle for the vote in WNC” by Thomas Calder in the Mountain Xpress (Oct. 6)
As poignantly recounted in “The Chickenbone Special” and “The Warmth of Other Suns,” the Great Migration continued, unstanched by the self-deluded appeals of white politicians and employers.
Pro pumpkin? Pro sweet potato? Undecided lover of pie? No matter what side you land on, we’ve got you covered.
Pumpkin Pie from Cook book.
Maw Maw’s Sweet Potato Pie from My mother’s southern desserts.
Pumpkin Dream Pie from Buffet Benny’s family cookbook : recipes, stories & poems from the Appalachian Mountains.
Creamy Sweet Potato Pie from Granny’s drawers : four generations of family favorites.
Delicious Pumpkin Pie from Favorite recipes.
Sliced Sweet Potato Pie from Körner’s Folly cookbook.
“Popular democracy is central to America’s identity, mission, and well-being, but it is also highly vulnerable to racism and irrationality,” [says] Harry Watson, a historian at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and author of ‘Liberty and Power: The Politics of Jacksonian America.’
“Jackson was an unapologetic slave owner and allowed the forcible removal of Cherokees (the so-called Trail of Tears) so Georgia could claim millions of acres that the federal government had guaranteed to the Cherokees. His policies were sometimes irrational, such as opposing building roads and canals that were transforming the young nation. The forcible removal of native Americans from their land has since tarnished Jackson’s image.”
— From “Five lessons 1828 holds for a Trump presidency” by Laurent Belsie in the Christian Science Monitor (Nov. 9)
“Led by Jonas R. Kunst, a fellow at Oslo University’s Institute of Psychology, researchers found that descriptive terms such as ‘beef’ and ‘pork’ created emotional distance between consumers and the animals they were preparing to eat.
“By alienating the animal through euphemism, these less representative terms made it much easier for consumers to eat meat. By contrast, the terms ‘cow’ and ‘pig’ — direct references to the living animal — brought the consumer closer to the reality of what one psychologist has called the ‘face on your plate.’ This intimacy lessened the desire to eat meat….”
— From “Pork or Pig: Words Can Hurt You, Especially if You’re an Animal” by James McWilliams at Pacific Standard (Nov. 4)
Wonder how Professor Kunst might evaluate the emotional distancing of diners at such indelicately-named barbecue joints as Pigman’s in Kill Devil Hills, Pik-n-Pig in Carthage, Little Pigs in Newton or The Pig in Chapel Hill….
“In 1999, the Strawberry Mansion [a Philadelphia neighborhood] row home of jazz legend John Coltrane was declared a National Historic Landmark, which ultimately commemorated where one of the most important jazz musicians in history lived and worked from 1952-58.
“In 2012, efforts to restore the property with hopes of using it as a museum or center for jazz studies were in high gear….
“But sadly the Coltrane House today is vacant, in disrepair and largely ignored. Any interest in giving the place where the genius of ’Trane blossomed its due has arrived only in the form of empty aspirations….”
— From “Coltrane Crumbles: The jazz legend’s neglected house in Philly” by Bruce Klauber in Philadelphia Weekly (Nov. 2)
Remarkably, the Philadelphia row house is only one of four Coltrane residences that have survived, however tenously.
There’s the one in Dix Hills, N.Y., where he spent his last years, now awaiting conversion into a cultural center.
There’s the one in High Point, where he lived as a child and teenager, now awaiting conversion into a museum.
And there’s the one in Hamlet, where he was born, now converted from a two-story hotel into a one-story NAACP headquarters.
On this day in 1926: Meeting in Pinehurst, the American Association of Highway Officials approves final plans for Route 66, which will link Chicago and Los Angeles and open the West to a new wave of migration and development.
By 1984, when the last stretch of the storied Route 66 is decommissioned, it will long since have been supplanted by the interstate highway system.
[Here’s Nelson Riddle’s still cool theme from the eponymous early-’60s TV series plus a more recent Western swing take by Asleep at the Wheel.]
On this day in 1918: In Atlanta, Georgia Tech makes easy work of a N.C. State football team crippled by influenza and military inductions. Tech coach John Heisman agrees to halt the game after three quarters. Final score: 128-0.