The Lemon Kola Bottling works started operations on August 3, 1912 (2) at 203 Bluefield Avenue, which was called the Red Menís building. An interesting blurb from June 18, 1912 claims that they actually started operations in Graham, VA on the ďold mill property east of the stationĒ obviously this first location just didnít work out. The company was incorporated on March 22, 1913 with H. C. Elliot, W. G. Baldwin, both from Roanoke, VA, Robert T. Peters, Jettie Green Barrow, and John G. Barrow, all three of Bluefield signing. The direct operation of the company was the responsibility of John G. Barrow as manager of bottling operations, and Robert T. Peters as assistant manager / outside sales.(2) They are bottling Lemon-Kola, ginger ale, and a long list of flavors provided by the Lemon Kola Sales Agency in Roanoke, VA.(2) Many imitator colas were created to capitalize on the popularity of Coca-Cola and Lemon Kola was one of these which was based in Roanoke, VA. To read more about this brand click here.

An October 5, 1913 Bluefield Daily Telegraph article reports a change in the leadership structure of the company listing Thomas L. Felts, who is a partner in the famous / infamous Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency, as President, Robert T. Peters as Vice President, and John G. Barrow as Secretary-treasurer.(2) A notice of Dissolution was published in the Bluefield Daily Telegraph on April 20, 1915 for the Lemon-Kola Bottling Works which announced that the corporation was to dissolve as of April 26th, 1915.(2) The interesting thing is that this isn't the actual end of the company. In 1919 Bluefield Candy Company is in operation in the same location with the same officers, and still bottling Lemon-Kola. By 1923 they have moved to 142 Bluefield Avenue and adding James G. Stone as Treasurer.(1) They would continue to operate at the same location, and with the same officers, until the company filed for bankruptcy on March 23, 1925.(2) On April 5, 1925 an announcement was published in the Bluefield Daily Telegraph that there was to be a public auction of the tangible assets and lease of the Bluefield-Crystal Candy Company of Bluefield, WVA.(2)

Robert T. Peters, who was originally from Roanoke, VA, would make Bluefield his home, and with Ray Price established the Smoke House at 614 Princeton Avenue in 1916, and purchased the West Virginian Billiard Parlor in the 1930ís. He was prominent enough in Bluefield that he received a write up in the Bluefield Daily Telegraph in 1934.(2)

Where this sign stand was the location of the Red Menís building which was the location of the Lemon Kola Bottling Company until 1923.

In 1923 they moved to 142 Bluefield Avenue which is now gone and an old gas station sits in its place.

Hand tooled crown top Lemon Kola Bottling Company slug plate bottle. Most of the Lemon Kolas I have come across usually have the name in script on the bottle unless they are a flavor line bottle which I suspect this one is. There are very few non-script Lemon Kola bottles period, exactly three that I have found so far have Lemon-Kola mentioned in the company name on the bottle and no script, and two of those, including this one, are from Bluefield, WV. The other one is from the late teens or early twenties, and mimics the style of the ringed Gay-ola bottles.

Most of the Lemon Kola bottles I have run across have the name in script, including the earliest slug plate versions I have found some even earlier than the one pictured which may have been used in Bluefield.

From the collection of Frank Anderson, photo by Joseph Lee
6 1/2oz blue Lemon-Kola bottle from the Bluefield Candy Company

June 13, 1916 Orange Whistle ad from the Bluefield Candy Company.

6 1/2oz Lemon-Kola green bottle from the Bluefield Candy Company dated 1923

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(1) Polk's Bluefield City Directory 1910-1925

(2) Bluefield Daily Telegraph