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1903 - 1923
Villa Rica Coca-Cola Bottling Company
The Villa Rica Coca-Cola Bottling Company operated under the name Villa Rica Electric Light and Power Company. It had a twenty-year contract and operated from 1903 to 1923, when its territory was divided between the Carrolton and Rome Bottling companies. The original territory was Villa Rica, Douglasville, Winston and Tallapoosa, Georgia and Fruithurst and Muscadine, Alabama. (The Carrolton Coca-Cola plant served Bremen.) The delivery of "coke" to Tallapoosa and the Alabama towns was accompanied by rail shipment to Tallapoosa, where it was stored until route men disbursed it with a wagon and four mules. These deliveries often required a week or more.
The bottling operation in Villa Rica was very small, with an average of 50 to 100 cases being produced per week. A foot-operated pedal accomplished the crowning operation. Later, a semi-automatic operation was installed. The machine dispensed the syrup; the carbonated water was put in by hand, and the crowning was done automatically.
In addition to bottling, the company also in earlier years operated a 500-volt D.C. generator, which was the only electric power the city had. Several of the older homes in Villa Rica were wired for direct current. The streetlights were also D.C. The company also had an ice manufacturing plant, with the ice being delivered by mule and wagon, and later by truck.
W. B. Powell, Sr. was manager of the whole Villa Rica Light and Power Company with its various operational interests. Mr. Powell's son, W. B., Jr., said that when he was in high school, he and other high school boys worked in the bottling plant after school. During the winter, when sales were down, they operated from 3 p.m. until dark. When sales were up during the summer, they worked full-time. An interesting aside to this Coca-Cola Bottling history is the fact that the same company bottled Orange Crush, Strawberry Soda, Blossom Soda, Lemon and Lime Soda and Nu-Grape.
The brief history of the Villa Rica Coca-Cola operation comes from "The History of Villa Rica (City of Gold)", researched and written by Mary Talley Anderson of Villa Rica.
Submitted by Perry Bailey
This page is for perpetual written accounts of historical events that have occurred in the city. Anyone who feels they have pertinent information may submit it. This includes all people in or out of Villa Rica and could involve any interested adults or children with events or items that are of interest. Items may be submitted for publication on this page where they will remain as part of a historical archive for the city. Items of interest may include noteworthy events, special events of historical importance, information about area growth that pertains to the history of the city, and other pertinent notes. We hope to establish a large data base of information about the history of each city. Historical Societies are encouraged to open their own page on Key to the City for more extensive historical information.
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