While Coca Cola and Dr Pepper have a lot of
things in common; both were created by pharmacists, both were
developed in the South just about a year apart and both were
developed as a soda fountain drink, they each have a unique
Coca Cola, universally known as Coke, began
in 1886 when the curiosity of an Columbus, GA pharmacist, Dr.
John S. Pemberton, led him to create a formula for a carbonated
drink he claimed would cure almost anything. Almost from the
beginning, Pemberton entered into a partnership with Asa
Chandler of Atlanta, GA.
Thus the World of Coke where you can learn
the history of "The
Real Thing." It's well worth a visit and I did that in this
It was only after these two drinks were
bottled, that they became famous outside their own small areas.
The most important thing is they both have
great museums related to the bottlingyou can visit.
Biedenharn Museum and Gardens In
Monroe, Louisiana was the home of Joseph Biedenharn, first
bottler of Coke. Joe Biedenharn lived here but had a candy
company in Vicksburg, MS. He decided it would be a profitable to
take this great drink and bottle it so people all over could
My favorite bit of nostalgia sits on the
porch just before you enter the museum. It is the first
Coca-Cola delivery truck that delivered Coke in the 1890s. When
you enter the museum, you join the animated young soda jerk at
the counter listen to the story of
beginnings. The museum is filled with interesting memorabilia.
The first Coca-Cola delivery
Then refresh with a 5-cent Coke and the
nostalgia of early Coca-Cola memorabilia displayed in an indoor
setting of the Coke Museum. Tour the elegant home of Joseph
Biedenharn, first bottler of Coca-Cola.
|The Biedenharn Home
A bonus is the tour of the home itself. It
was Mr. Joe's home but it is his daughter, Emy Lou, that made it
the showplace it is. Much of the furniture are family heirlooms
brought from Vicksburg. One of my favorites is the Steinway
piano. Our guide offered to let anyone of us play but there was
no one with enough talent to touch that gorgeous instrument. She
was an opera singer for the London Opera Company but gave up her
career after her mother, Ann, died and her farther needed her to
return home. You even get to hear Emy Lou sing during the tour.
|Emy Lou's piano
Emy Lou founded a Bible Museum on the
premises. She was inspired to do so because of a gift her father
gave her when she gave up her career and returned to help him.
He bought her 1848 copy of the John Wycliffe Bible, a
reproduction of the
first Bible printed in English. It is on display in the museum.
|Bible Museum exhibits
You really get a four for one tour when you
consider the ELsong Gardens. The EL stands for Emy Lou. The
Gardens are well worth considering. When we visited, they were
blooming and lush. The fountains really set it off perfectly.
You get a special treat in the garden too.
There is a antique Coke machine with an antique price. Joe
Biedenharn said that at his house, Cokes would always be a
Pepper was created by Charles
Alderton, a young pharmacist at Morrison's Old Corner Drug
Store. It was first manufactured and sold beginning in 1885 in
the Central Texas town of Waco. Charles liked
the smells of the pharmacy and tried to recreate the fruity
smell in a drink. He first called it a "Waco." He would try out
his new concoction
on patrons of the drug store's soda fountain. People
would come in and say "Shoot me a Waco."
|Reproduction of the Old Corner
He offered a taste to the store owner, Dr.
Morrison. Morrison liked it and
began serving it at his soda fountain. Morrison is
credited with naming the drink but no one knows the reason for
the name. There are many different stories. Dr Pepper became so
popular, other soda fountains in Waco began to buy the syrup
from Morrison until they could no longer keep up with the
demand. were impressed with the growth of Dr Pepper. In 1891,
Morrison in partnership with a chemist,
Robert Lazenby, started
the, which became Dr Pepper Company.
|Bottling Exhibit at the musuem
three story museum is located in what was once the
bottling plant of the Artesian Mfg. & Bottling Company and is
listed in the National Register of Historic Places as the "Home
of Dr Pepper.” When you enter the museum you can hear the
account sort of first hand. That is from an animated and rather
eerie Charles Alderton behind the counter of the old drug store.
There is a old time soda fountain with advertisements for "Crazy
Water" which was one of the early names for Dr Pepper. The drug
store has been recreated so authentically you really feel you
are in a drug store of the 1880s.
One of the most interesting exhibits in the
museum is the original artesian well. You can look down it or if
that makes you feel sick you can view the depth of the well with
a mirror mounted strategically. It is filled with fun
memorabilia; antique bottling equipment,
lots of old bottles.
|That well is really something to
On the second floor there is a recreation
of a 1930s grocery store/ service station called Wilton's
Landing with its Dr Pepper signs, a cooler and some store stock.
Complete with a
1924 Model T truck that may have been used to deliver Dr Pepper.
There is a entire section devoted to movies that featured Dr
Pepper ( part of the header is a photo of some of those movie
props) and a stature of a horse made from Dr Pepper bottle caps
and old cans. Got to see it to believe it.
|Old Ford truck at Wilton's
Be sure to stop at the old time soda
fountain on your way out and have a Dr Pepper float.
|Dr Pepper horse
For more info: