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Barnesville was once home to soft drink bottling firms

By Kay S. Pedrotti It may not have the familiar ‘hourglass’ shape, but the Coca-Cola bottle Leon Blalock found is authentic and dates to the early 1900s. Blalock visited The Herald Gazette with that bottle, definitely in the pale green Coke bottle color, and a clear glass NuGrape bottle. Both are stamped with ‘Barnesville, GA.’ Both bottlers once had plants in Barnesville. Local historian Shanna English said there were many bottling companies here during the 1910s to 1920s. NuGrape, according to English was downtown where the current Georgia South BBQ is now. Coca-Cola bottling was located on the south side of Market Street, where the bank parking lot is now, said English. A third major bottler here was Lime Cola. It was on Greenwood Street, near the concrete pad adjacent to the present location of The Herald Gazette. A bottle collector for a long time, Blalock said he found the Coca-Cola bottle while hunting in the woods. The NuGrape bottle turned up with a crowd of others while Blalock was installing telephone cable under a building in Griffin. He is retired from Southern Bell/AT&T. He also said he has found an old clay jar inscribed ‘R.M. Rose and Company, Atlanta.’ R.M. Rose moved his whiskey-making business when Georgia once went temporarily ‘dry,’ and the product he then made in Tennessee came to be known as ‘Four Roses,’ said Blalock. A straight-sided Coca-Cola bottle resembling Blalock’s is for sale on an internet site for $350; as of last Friday, no one had purchased it. Blalock is back in Barnesville after retirement and has children here: Wade Blalock, an executive of Milner’s Grain Craft and 14 other mills; Neal Blalock, Pam Bryan and Lisa Dziedzic. Clark Hunt has gathered extensive information about Coca-Cola in Barnesville because his great-uncle, Aaron McCarty, was the bottling plant owner many years ago.

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