Read more Chattanooga History Columns
- Gaston: Paul John Kruesi was Edison's right-hand man
- Robbins: The old Richardson's house and the Civil War
- Gaston: James Williams was a man of the world
- Raney: Mason Evans, the 'Wild Man of the Chilhowee'
- Gaston: The legacy of Adolph Ochs endures
- Martin: Ed Johnson said, 'I have a changed heart,' the day before his lynching in Chattanooga on 1906
- Thomas: The inventiveness of Judge Michael M. Allison
- Moore: Chattanooga's first Chinese community
- Summers, Robbins: Chattanooga's Tuskegee Airman - Joseph C. White
- McCallie: The Civil Rights Act of 1964 says so!
- Gaston: John McCline's Civil War - from slave to D.C. parade
- Raney: Exploring Chattanooga businesses in the Green Book
- Elliott: Remembering the Freedmen's Bureau in Chattanooga
- Gaston: Nancy Ward was a beloved, respected Tennessean
- Martin: Prohibition - the noble experiment
- Elliott: 'A shameful, disgraceful deed': The destruction of the Sewanee cornerstone
- Gaston: Robert Cravens was ironmaster, Chattanooga area's first commuter
- Robbins: Dr. T.H. McCallie's Christmas 1863
- Robbins: Journalist writes of a trip to Missionary Ridge in 1896
- Summers, Robbins: Mine 21 disaster - gone but not forgotten
- Elliott: Collegedale incorporates to avoid Sunday 'blue laws'
- Gaston: 'Marse Henry' Watterson's journalism fame began in Chattanooga
- Robbins: Orchard Knob battle recalled in 1895
- Elliott: Chattanoogans joined in an 'orgy of joy and gladness' on Armistice Day, 1918
- Thomas: Noted service, speakers are marks of Rotary Club of Chattanooga since 1914
- Summers and Robbins: Remembering noted Tennessee author North Callahan
- Raney: 'I auto cry, I auto laugh, I auto sign my autograph'
- Gaston: Sequoyah's alphabet enriched Cherokees
- Robbins: A look at Sam Divine's life during the Civil War
- Robbins: Memories of a Confederate nurse
- Robbins: More notes from Bradford Torrey's 1895 visit to Chickamauga Battlefield
- Robbins: Journalist in 1895 details visit to Chickamauga Battlefield
- Elliott: Telephone exchange firebombing was distraction for grocery store robbery
- Gaston: Worcester brought Christ's message to Cherokee at Brainerd Mission
- Robbins: 1896 travel diary: 'A Week on Walden's Ridge'
- Gaston: Elizabeth Strayhorn, WAC Commandant at Fort Oglethorpe
- Robbins: The history of the Friends of Moccasin Bend National Park
- Moore: Do you own a Sears Roebuck home?
- Summers and Robbins: Camp Nathan Bedford Forrest in World War II
- Gaston: Hiram Sanborn Chamberlain remembered
- Elliott: Daisy the center of tile, ceramic manufacturing in Hamilton County
- Gaston: FDR inaugurates the Chickamauga Dam
- Summers, Robbins: Interned WWII Germans had it easy at Camp Crossville
- Elliott: A war correspondent on Lookout Mountain
- Gaston: Chickamaugas finally bury hatchet in Tennessee Valley
- Gaston: Chickamaugas in Chattanooga
- Robbins: The history of the Riverbend festival
- Raney: Sadie Watson, the first woman elected in Hamilton County government
- Moore: Remembering Chattanooga's Hawkinsville community
- Elliott: Welsh coal miners transformed Soddy after the Civil War
- Gaston: Chattanooga's best-kept secret
- Elliott: Cabell Breckinridge loses his horse
- Raney: Martin Fleming is the people's judge
- Gaston: The amazing career of Francis Lynde
- Martin: Hamilton County's Name Sake: Alexander Hamilton
- Summers, Robbins: The crosses at Sewanee
- Bledsoe: The fiery truce at Kennesaw Mountain
- Moore: Talented architect's life cut short by tragedy
- Rydell: Chattanooga's place in soccer history
- Robbins: Tennessee Coal, member of the First Dow Jones Industrial Average
- Raney: In the barber chair
- Lanier: Becoming the Boyce Station Neighborhood Association
- McCallie: John P. Franklin: Living history among us
- Barr: Chattanooga's first railroad: The Underground Railroad
- Summers, Robbins: Charles Bartlett was a Pulitzer Prize winner, Kennedy confidant
- Rainey: 'We have seen it'
- Elliott: Feinting and fighting at Running Water Creek and Johnson's Crook
- Gaston: The Spring Frog Cabin at Audubon Acres
- Raney: Wauhatchie Pike was moonshine motorway
- Robbins: Oakmont was home of venerable Williams clan
- Summers and Robbins: Rebirth of the Mountain Goat Line
- Elliott: Bad investments led to Soddy Bank failure in 1930
- Summers and Robbins: Pearl Harbor attack left football behind
- Gaston: Jolly’s Island namesake had long ties with Sam Houston
- Return Jonathan Meigs, Indian Agent
- Moore: Did you know about St. Elmo's other two cemeteries?
- Summers: Orme - Marion County's almost lost community
- Davis: Spooky revival at Sharp Mountain in 1873
- Robbins: The story of Longholm
- Raney: Women labored to help the U.S. win World War I
- Even in the city, the 'wheel' changed everything
- Murray: Confederate dilemma after Chickamauga
- J.B. Collins — Newsman extraordinaire
- Robbins: The Story of the Lyndhurst Mansion
- Chattanooga artist and wife lost on the Lusitania
- Chattanooga History Column: Battelle, Alabama and the Battelle Institute
- John Ross, a founder of Chattanooga
- Hamilton County casualties in World War I
- Chattanooga Power Couple
- 'Somewhere in France'
- The Ray Moss family
- Battery B from Chattanooga
- Ulysses S. Grant, Clark B. Lagow, and the Chattanooga Bender
- Songbirds Museum Timeline
- Hamilton County World War 1 roster
- The Soddy Girl and the Memphis Belle
- Blues icon Bessie Smith was the Empress of Soul
- Women's Army Corps at Chickamauga
- Emma Bell Miles' life at the top of the 'W'
- The Tivoli Wurlitzer is one of Chattanooga's priceless assets
- Chattanooga in struggle for freedom during Civil War
- October 1918, Chattanooga paralyzed by Spanish flu epidemic
- Eli Lilly and the Ditch of Death
- One hundred years ago, Chattanooga goes to war
- The legacy of Anna Safley Houston
- Harriet Whiteside was ahead of her time
- Southern Adventist University
- Chattanooga native's writings aided Civil Rights movement
- Zion College, Chattanooga's only African American College
- The North Shore's hidden past
- Mayme Martin -- Businesswoman and community leader
- Thomas Sim's epic struggle for freedom
- Top of Cameron Hill was price of rerouting interstate
- Cameron Hill has rich history
- Temperance movement included Harriman university
- The sweetest music this side of Heaven
- Conquistadors at Chattanooga
- Chattanooga and the 'General'
- Chattanooga's first Thanksgiving, 1863
- Chattanooga's greatest flood caught city unaware
- Opening the Cracker Line
- European trip in 1900 enlightens Sophia Scholze Long
- Sophia Scholze Long spoke out when others were silent
- Little South Pittsburg and its big silent movie stars
- Lot attendant recalls hottest job in Chattanooga
- Chattanooga's Forest Hills is final resting place for known, unknown
- Burritt College -- Pioneer of the Cumberlands
- Chattanooga's nicknames trace city's evolution
- The 25th annual meeting of the Tennessee Press Association
- Clemons Brothers Furniture Store
- The Short Life of the USS Chattanooga
- Ellen Jarnagin McCallie lived a truly remarkable life
- Dr. Jonathan Bachman was a revered city father
- Second guessing the Confederate failure on Missionary Ridge
- Nancy Kefauver, ambassador for the arts
- William Gibbs McAdoo kept his Southern roots
- Chattanooga's Secretary of the Treasury
- Howard Baker remembered as a statesman/photographer who snapped history
- Tivoli's last picture show
- The history of one of Chattanooga's oldest businesses
- Chattanooga's roller derby skaters
- Myths of Coca-Cola in Chattanooga
- Chattanooga's neighborhood grocery stores
- The tale of the Scottsboro Boys
- The people's history of Chattanooga
- Howard School is Chattanooga's reminder of Reconstruction
- Elevator operator, painter, mystery man: meet Rice Carothers
- Raulston Schoolfield made enemies amid his rise to power
- Website lets users peer into Chattanooga's past
- The flood of 1917
- Chattanooga's 'wickedest woman' buried at Forest Hills
- History of Cummings Highway
There tends to be some imprecise knowledge about Coca-Cola bottling in Chattanooga. Many think that John Thomas Lupton brought Coca-Coca bottling to Chattanooga. Actually, his participation came after the deal was done.
Two Chattanooga lawyers, Joseph Whitehead and Benjamin Thomas, were the originators. In 1899 they went to Atlanta to bargain with the owner of Coke, Asa Candler. Seeing bottling as financially impractical, Candler sold the rights to the two for $1.
After Thomas and Whitehead returned to Chattanooga, they realized they needed additional money. This is when Lupton came in. They sold him a one-third interest.
The 1899 agreement is often called "Candler's error." Giving up bottling is only part of the error. Coca-Cola also agreed to never raise the price of the syrup unless the price of sugar increased.
There is a bit of fuzziness about the site of the first Chattanooga bottling plant. A plaque in Patten Parkway says the first plant was there. However, it may not have been the very first. E.Y. Chapin said the organizers initially tried to open a plant in an abandoned pool hall on Cowart Street. That site was inadequate and a move was made to Patten Parkway. By November 1899, this plant was operating.
Another myth is that Chattanooga hosted the first Coke bottler.
Earlier, Joseph A. Biedenharn was bottling Coke in Mississippi but sold it only in that state. The Coca-Cola Co. and Candler knew about the operation and didn't object. In fact, Candler viewed it kindly because he excluded Mississippi in the bottling rights he sold to Thomas and Whitehead.
Another source of confusion concerns who owned the Coca-Cola bottling plant in Chattanooga. Most people assume that it was owned by the trio of Thomas, Whitehead and Lupton. The 1899 Patten Parkway plant was so owned. And one would think that the plant would have continued to be owned by that trio.
However, the 1899 agreement gave Thomas, Whitehead and Lupton bottling rights to most of the U.S. The trio divided the territories among themselves. The Chattanooga plant fell into Thomas' ownership. He operated it until 1901, when he sold the Chattanooga franchise to James F. Johnston of Cleveland, Tenn.
This Mr. Johnston was the grandfather of Summerfield Johnston Jr., who many years later would head Coca-Cola Enterprises.
James F. Johnston operated the Chattanooga franchise until 1924, when he sold it to Crawford Johnson of Birmingham. The Crawford Johnson family owned and developed a consortium of bottling franchises. The Chattanooga franchise was one of that consortium and remains under the auspices of the Birmingham company to this day.
Since bottling connects Coca-Cola to Chattanooga, one might assume the bottle's shape originated here. Not so.
The Coca-Cola Co. in Atlanta wanted its bottle to be unique. Its original bottles were flat-sided and easily confused with rival beverages. In 1914 the Root Co. of Indiana came up with a new design, intending to make the bottle in the shape of one of Coke's ingredients.
By mistake the company shaped it like the cocoa bean (the source of chocolate), which was not an ingredient. This gave the bottle its feminine hourglass shape with fat side ribs. The original design gave the bottle a larger curve (or a more voluptuous shape). It was later slimmed down for easier manufacture.
This new bottle was introduced in 1914 but wasn't in exclusive use until 1921. The delay enabled the bottlers to use up their inventory of flat-sided bottles.
Today, we see Coke as a food. However, when John Seth Pemberton devised the drink in 1886, he sold it as a tonic or patent medicine. This was good business, as Atlanta in the 1880s was seen as the patent medicine capital of the world.
After Candler bought the formula, he advertised it as a brain tonic good for relief of headache and fatigue. He continued to push Coke as a patent medicine until the outbreak of the Spanish-American War in 1898. The government then began to tax patent medicines, so Candler managed to have Coke reclassified as a food.
Lastly, about the connection of cocaine to Coke. This connection is why "old timers" called Coke "dope." In a 1901 trial, the government ruled that the amount of cocaine in Coke was insignificant. That may have been true by 1901, but I suspect that Pemberton's original formula contained more than a trace.
R. Smith Murray is a retired urologist. For more, visit Chattahistoricalassoc.org.