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Old Coca-Cola Bottling Court

CIRCA 1892

This historic site has had many lives. The original building, constructed in the 1800s, was engulfed in the Great Fire of 1886 along with a good portion of cigar factories in surrounding area. See Historic Marker # 28.The fire damaged or destroyed much of the cigar industry Key West had come to symbolize.By 1892 a hardware store was constructed on the empty lot. The surrounding cigar factories had been rebuilt and the industry was producing 10 million hand rolled cigars a year.In 1914 Jack and Rosa Williams opened Jack's Saloon. The saloon was well situated to wet the whistle of sailors, fishermen, and the public.By 1923, the building was transformed into the Coca-Cola Bottling Plant. Bottling machines carrying glistening bottles of the refreshing drink were visible through the front windows. It is rumored that with the scarcity of fresh water, cistern water was used to produce the bubbly brew we have all grown to love.Deposits were offered for empty bottles that were washed, refilled, and distributed to the next customer. With the advent of the Overseas-Highway, the bottling plant closed and Coca-Cola products were trucked in from the mainland.In recent years the building's uses have continued to evolve from office space, upscale clothing shops, liquor distributors, and a short run as a key lime pie factory.