Charlotte Coca-Cola Bottling Company Plant |
1401-1409 West Morehead St.
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In April, 1902, J. Luther Snyder, a Virginia native, moved
from Atlanta, where he had worked for the Coca-Cola Co. for two
years. He settled here to establish the first Coca-Cola bottling
plant in the Carolinas. "When I came to Charlotte, the
city had 17,000 people, eighteen saloons, two breweries . . .
and I had a terrible time selling soft drinks with that kind of
competition," Snyder remembered.
Several factors were working in Snyder's favor, however. The temperance
movement was sweeping the South, and it would soon sound the death
knell for the breweries and the saloons. Charlotte was becoming
a major textile center; and the industrial workers, forced to
work for 12 to 14 hours a day in stifling heat and humidity, would
eagerly buy Snyder's "soft" drink.
At first, the bottling and distribution systems were primitive.
The capping and bottling equipment were foot-powered. Horse-drawn
wagons meandered through the streets of Charlotte, hauling Coca-Cola
to industrial establishments, neighborhood grocery stores, and
drug stores. Long distance deliveries were shipped in metal packing
crates by railroad. In 1907, Snyder moved his bottling plant to
14-18 South Poplar St.; in 1913 to 522-524 West Fifth St.; and
in 1918 to 213 N. Graham St. But it was in 1930 that Snyder had
this magnificently playful building erected on W. Morehead St.
"The Charlotte Coca-Cola Bottling Company has purchased
a site on West Morehead Street and will begin immediately the
construction of a new plant to cost approximately $100,000,"
the Southern Public Utilities Magazine proclaimed
in January, 1930. The architect was Marion "Steve"
Marsh. A native of Jacksonville, Fla., Marsh came to Charlotte
in 1916 as chief draftsman for architect J. M. McMichael.
In 1922, he opened his own practice and went on to design such
important Charlotte buildings as the Charlotte Armory (destroyed),
Fairview Homes, and the Plaza Theater (destroyed). Marsh's Coca-Cola
Bottling Company building has wonderful ornamental detail, including
Coca-Cola bottles. Coca-Cola vacated the building in 1974. It
has recently been restored for an adaptive reuse.
For more information...
Survey & Research Report: Charlotte Coca-Cola Bottling Plant