Times Free Press reader Charles Young recently contacted us about a photographic find: an exterior shot of the old Chattanooga Coca-Cola Bottling Company Inc. headquarters on Broad Street.
Some may recognize the pictured building at 201 Broad St. as the former home of the Hamilton County Schools central offices. Before 1970, it was home to the oldest Coca-Cola bottling franchise in America.
Today, 201 Broad St. houses a Ben & Jerry's ice cream shop, among other businesses, near the entrance to the Tennessee Aquarium.
While the photo is undated, Young said in an email to the newspaper he believes this picture and other related images of the bottling headquarters date to at least to the mid-1940s and possibly earlier.
"I do not know the exact date [of the photos] but my great uncle, who moved to Florida in 1946, is in them," Young said.
Fortunately, some sleuthing by ChattanoogaHistory.com curator Sam Hall, the newspaper's partner in the "Remember When, Chattanooga?" series, found the answer.
Searching newspaper archives, Hall found a photo from the same set published in 1938 in the Chattanooga News, under the headline "Distribute Soft Drinks in the Chattanooga Area."
Launched by history enthusiast Sam Hall in 2014, ChattanoogaHistory.com is maintained to present historical images in the highest resolution available.If you have photo negatives, glass plate negatives, or original non-digital prints taken in the Chattanooga area, contact Sam Hall for information on how they may qualify to be digitized and preserved at no charge.
Twenty-one people are identified in the newspaper photo including Chattanooga Coca-Cola Co. Inc. executive K.W. Henze, sales manager, seen in this photo in a suit. Also in the photo is Charles Young's great uncle William Byron Baker.
A company history published by Chattanooga Coca-Cola Bottling Co. notes the 122-year-old business was located on Broad Street until 1970. Before that, it had been located at 17 Market St. In 1970, the operation moved to Amnicola Highway.
Chattanooga became home to the first Coca-Cola bottling company in 1899 after two Chattanooga businessmen, Benjamin F. Thomas and Joseph B. Whitehead, ventured to Atlanta and purchased bottling rights from Coca-Cola owner Asa Chandler for $1.
Thomas and Whitehead later joined with Chattanooga colleague John T. Lupton to build the first bottling facility at 17 Market St., the current location of Patten Parkway.
This and other vintage photos of Chattanooga can be viewed in detail at ChattanoogaHistory.com. Follow the "Remember When, Chattanooga?" public group on Facebook.
Remember When is published on Saturdays. Contact Mark Kennedy at firstname.lastname@example.org.