CORINTH – The community’s excitement for the new Corinth Coca-Cola Museum poured over like a Coke float this week.
A large crowd turned out for the grand opening of the new museum that houses memorabilia dating back to around 1900.
The museum, which is located downtown at the corner of Polk and Foote streets, houses more than 1,000 items, said Corinth Coke Chairman Sandy Williams.
Williams has a personal connection with much of the memorabilia in the museum. He particularly likes a triangle-shaped six-bottle carton with a metal handle and wooden carrier.
“My first job when I was about 13 years old was helping fill those cartons,” he said.
The museum is free for the public to visit.
The museum even has an old-fashioned soda fountain, and on Monday, Coke floats were served to the many visitors who attended the grand opening.
The museum is located next to the Coke plant in a building that dates back to 1972. It was renovated for the museum to resemble a country store and is full of vintage items.
Corinth Coke President Kenneth Williams said he loves the way the museum turned out and thinks it will be a community asset located along a tourist route.
Corinth Coke was started by Kenneth’s and Sandy’s grandfather, A. Kenneth Weaver, in 1905. The company started as a soda water business and received the Coca-Cola franchise in 1907, making this year the 110th anniversary of Corinth Coca-Cola.
Kenneth said he would have to think about what his favorite item in the museum would be but said he really likes a 1950s-era Coke radio cooler.
Sandy, who is known as the Corinth Coke historian and archivist, hopes many people come to the museum and bring their friends.
“It’s quite exciting to see this stuff come out of mothballs and into the public domain so to speak and be exhibited where the people can see it,” he said.
A Corinth Coca-Cola museum opened around 2007 at the time of the company’s 100th anniversary about two blocks from the new site. But there was a flood in 2010, and the building had to be vacated.
The new museum provides another way to share the Corinth story with tourists, said Christy Burns, executive director of the Corinth Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.
“We all remember sharing a coke on a hot summer day,” Burns said. “This attraction showcases our people and traditions that helped form the town we enjoy today.”
Corinth resident Bill Jackson toured the museum during the grand opening and was impressed by the collection.
“I think it’s fantastic,” Jackson said. “I’ve never seen this much Coke stuff in one place.”