Back in my Day

Walterboro Coca-Cola


This month’s “Back in My Day” is the Walterboro Coca-Cola Bottling Plant. Located at the Corner of S. Memorial Ave, and Hampton Street, the complex included 4 buildings. Opened in the early 1900’s by T.J. McDaniel and originally called the Walterboro Coca Cola Bottle Works, the facility was a fixture in Walterboro with Billboards, Scoreboards, and Advertising in event programs all over the area. The plant closed in the late 70’s when Coca Cola was changing over to non-returnable bottles. Remember collecting bottles to cash in for 5 cents a bottle? This was also when Coke only had a limited number of drinks, Coke, Sprite, Fanta Orange and Grape, Tab, and Fresca. There was an office that sat at 410 Hampton Street, the factory building, and primary warehouse and loading dock was located on the corner. The office was originally a railroad office in the 1800’s with the bottling plant itself being a rooming house with two other small businesses attached. The bottling building and warehouse, it had large windows let people passing by see the bottling machines in operation and a large Coca-Cola clock was in the front window lighting up the intersection at night. I remember Mr. Clark was the operator for the equipment and always drove an orange 50’s era panel truck that he parked on Memorial Ave. The building was always immaculately painted in white with green and red signage. It also had a Screen door that opened to the sidewalk on Hampton Street and a Coke Machine just inside where you could stop by and have a free Coke. Upstairs were the vats for the Coca Cola syrup that came in steel 50-gallon drums and transported upstairs by a large elevator. Also upstairs was a room where Coca Cola crates were hand built. Two garage buildings also were on the property. The larger white garage building housed the 60’s era yellow, white, and green Coca Cola trucks and also for a time the city’s vintage fire engine was stored inside. There was a steel warehouse built in the mid 70’s to increase storage and house a concessions trailer. Over the years the plant hosted many school tours that always ended with a small coke. The buildings were removed after the plant closed, the trucks went to other bottling plants, the older yellow trucks became log trucks, the equipment was scrapped but the memories remain, the location is now the parking lot for the First Baptist Church.