CEDARTOWN, Ga. - Ask any longtime Cedartown resident and they’ll no doubt remember the Cedartown Coca-Cola Bottling Company, which was a Main Street mainstay for decades.
"It's almost an American icon," says Cedartown entrepreneur Dan Morris. "Every small town had its own bottling company."
After the soft drink company left town in the 1970s, the big brick building sat vacant for years. Then, Morris and his family purchased the property in 2014 with a unique idea to fill it with new life while honoring its legacy.
The Morris family officially opened the Cedartown Museum of Coca-Cola Memorabilia in 2016 with Dan Morris serving as "collector-in-chief." Just a teenager when he started accumulating Coke memorabilia, his astounding collection now includes everything from antique bottles and bottle openers (450 bottle openers, to be exact!) to vintage advertising and a full-sized motor vehicle once used to promote the brand.
"Now that the museum has been open for five years, we're starting to become known among the collectors all throughout the country," says Morris. "So, I get good leads and I travel wherever I have to to find this stuff."
That didn’t even stop during the pandemic; the museum’s latest acquisition is an extremely rare leaded glass globe from the early 1900s, only a handful of which are known to exist today.
"It was actually still with the family, in the soda fountain that it originally hung in. They took it down in the 1970s and it sat in a cardboard box for 40 years," says Morris. He adds with a laugh, "We flew to New York during a snowstorm and we picked it up brought it home, and we're excited to get it on display."
A slightly treacherous journey? Perhaps. But for Morris, it was more than worth it to draw newcomers to his beloved Georgia hometown.
"We've had over 30 states and over 10 countries come to town just to see the museum. And that's the nice thing about collecting, you find friends with a common interest all over the country and all over the world, and it's a really rewarding thing to be able to bring them to my small town."
The Cedartown Museum of Coca-Cola Memorabilia is located at 209 South Main Street and current hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays; click here for more information on visiting.
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