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NEHI bottle.

Marker: The Bottle: Lost Roadside Wonder

Field review by the editors.

Auburn, Alabama

John Frederick Williams, manager of a Nehi bottling plant in Opelika, decided to advertise his product by building a 64-foot-high wooden replica of a Nehi soda bottle at this then-busy crossroads. It was 1924. The Bottle, also known as the "Twist Inn," was painted orange and had gas pumps outside and a cafe/minimart in its base. Above the gas pumps was an open-air deck for dancing. A spiral staircase ran up through the neck of the bottle to observation windows just beneath the cap, which also had a hatch so that visitors could climb onto the top. A small apartment on the second floor housed the store manager. The Bottle had no electricity.

The Bottle historical marker.

Williams was such a company man that his nickname was "Chero-Cola," but he lost his job when his son, nicknamed "Nehi," was caught using a company truck for personal business.

The wooden bottle burned down in either 1933 or 1936 (accounts vary), but it was such a landmark that the crossroads was labeled "The Bottle" on road maps for years afterward.

In 2015 a historical marked was placed on the bottle's former site, complete with a photo of the long-lost wonder.

Marker: The Bottle: Lost Roadside Wonder

7355 US-280 W., Auburn, AL
North of Auburn. The marker stands on the southwest corner of US-280 W. and AL-147/N. College St. Park at the gas station across the street.
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