Digging up history: Clanton resident collects soda bottles from another era

Published 4:50 pm Monday, February 27, 2023

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By JOYANNA LOVE | Managing Editor

Collections can start in many ways. For Don Driver, former city employee and now a Clanton City Council member, his collection of vintage glass bottles grew out of his career.

“I worked for the city since ’64 over the water department,” Driver said. “I retired in 2000, so I worked for the city for 36 years.”

Digging for new water lines throughout his career with the Clanton Water Department led to finding several collectible items.

“Anytime I would find an old bottle I would keep it,” Driver said.

Among the glass soda bottles Driver has in his collection are two glass bottles from factories that were once located in Clanton, Chero-Cola Bottling Company and Lime Cola Bottling Company.

Driver estimates that Lime Cola bottle he has is from the 1930s-1940 because the logo is painted onto the bottle rather than being a part of the glass as had been done on earlier ones.

According to information compiled by Derric Scott for the Chilton County Historical Society, Clanton Bottling Works company operated from at least 1908 to 1915, when the building was destroyed by an explosion. The Clanton Chero-Cola Bottling Company started in 1916 with J. P. Morrow, who had owned the previous bottling company, as part owner. Driver said the company had been across from where Clanton Furniture is today. Driver said the Chero logo could be seen on the building. In addition to the Clanton factory, Lime Cola was also produced in Tuscaloosa.

The locally produced bottles are not the oldest ones in Driver’s collection. A square Coca-Cola bottle he has is thought to be from 1900, he said.

“It was made in Tuscaloosa,” Driver said.

He also unearthed other mementos of local history. Driver also has a glass Miller Dairy milk jug from when the dairy was located on Pinedale.

A variety of colored glass bottles from days gone by rounds out his collection.