Our story begins in the town of Elizabethton Tennessee in 1905 when Thomas P. Crow purchased the Watauga Bottling Works. He operated the company until April 13, 1908 when a fire broke out in the plant destroying everything.(2) Crow announced in the May 1908 issue of the American Bottler that he was looking for new bottling equipment which he obtained.(3) Crow decided that instead of reestablishing his operation in Elizabethton he would establish a new bottling plant in Johnson City, Tennessee which was operational by July 1908. This company was known as the Star Bottling Works which operated at the corner of Jobe and Buffalo Streets under the partnership of Crow & Lusk.(1)

The Crow & Lusk partnership consisted of T. P. Crow and R. A. Lusk who are living in the same building that houses the bottling operation.(1) Their leaders were Jersey Cream, a product of the Jersey Cream Company of Ft. Worth, Texas, and Iron Brew, produced by the Maas & Waldstein Extract Company of New York.(2) They also bottled Lemon, Peach, Chocolate, Lemon Sour, Blood Orange, Cream Soda, Strawberry, Ginger ale, Root Beer flavored sodas.(2) They weren’t just bottling soft drinks, among the products they offered were digestive specialties, high grade ciders, and vinegar.(2)

Thomas Crow, called Tom Crow by the Comet, was involved in an incident in July 1908 where, after being pelted by rocks by a Barney Christie, proceeded to fire two shots at him with a 44 caliber pistol.(2) Ultimately Mr. Crow proved to be a very lousy shot having missed Christie twice.(2) Both men were arrested.(2) Crow was proprietor of the Star Bottling Works at this time.(2) On September 17, 1908 the newspaper announces that the Star Bottling Works had been placed in the hands of T. A. Cox as a trustee.(2) The stock and fixtures were stated to be worth $3,000; however, the company’s liabilities were slightly higher than that.(2) The Johnson City Bottling Works purchased the company on January 14, 1909 for the purposes of leasing the operation to a sister company called the Pepsi-Cola Bottling Works to be ran by C. S. Crockett.(2) Crow still lives in Johnson City in 1911.(1)

After several years of trying to figure out exactly where the Star Bottling Works was located a local collector by the name of Mike Stovall sent me this photo showing that the company was actually located in a small block of buildings that straddles Buffalo Street and the railroad near where Buffalo intersects with what was Jobe Street.

Advertisement for Star Bottling Works from the 1908-09 Johnson City, Tenn. City Directory

I'm not sure that this bottle is from Johnson City; however, seeing as it was found with a bunch of other bottles from Johnson City area makes me think that it is.

Advertisement for Star Bottling Works from August 1909

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(1) Piedmont Johnson City, Tenn. City Directory

(2) The Johnson City Comet newspaper

(3) American Bottler