DAMASCUS BOTTLING WORKS OF DAMASCUS, VA

While one of the earliest mentions of bottling in Damascus, VA was of L. H. Little, creator of the original Damascus Blade newspaper in 1904, which he operated out of his own house.(3) The Damascus Bottling Works itself may very well have it's roots in Grayson County Virginia, White Top, VA to be specific. In an article interviewing James Hart, who's father was the final owner of the company, he mentions that the company was sold to his father by J. A. Blevins in 1929.(1) After finding nothing on J. A. Blevins in Damascus except for a mention of a farmer in the 1930 census who was 70 years old, I decided to play a hunch. I knew that when Charlie Barnette, a local amateur historian and bottle collector, bought the bottle stock from a member of the Hart family, there had been some crates marked Farmer's Bottling Works White Top, VA.(2) Charlie has a write up about it on his own site entitled Damascus VA Bottling Works. Knowing that at some point the bottling equipment and packaging was possibly purchased from a failed bottler from White Top, VA, I decided to take a stab in the dark and see if I could find a J. A. Blevins in Grayson County, VA. I did find a James A. Blevins listed as a laborer in a bottling plant in the 1920 census. Thinking that maybe he was working for Farmer's at this time, even tough he was nearly sixty years old, I checked around for any other bottlers in the area and found none.

Either he was operating the plant in White Top, VA, or he was living in White Top and commuting by train to another location. Is it possible that he had bought an older bottling plant and sent the equipment down to Damascus to set up a bottling operation there then taking the train there to operate the plant? I know it's a stretch; however, we aren't talking that far of a distance by rail. The only problem with his operating a bottling plant in White Top, VA by 1920 is that among the bottles found in the lot were some applied top bottles with Damascus Bottling Works embossed on them which date at least from the teens, so there would have to have been a bottling plant in Damascus during this period. No matter what happened James A. Blevins sold the bottling works to Remine H. Hart who eventually stopped operating the business in 1936 when their house was destroyed by fire, and he built on to the plant creating a new house which reportedly still stands.(1) They bottled a line of generic flavors consisting of Grape (2), Strawberry, Peach, and Cherry.(1) They most likely had an Orange, and Ginger Ale as well; however, there is no source confirming this.





Straight sided applied top Damascus Bottling Works bottle



Straight sided machine made Damascus Bottling Works bottle



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Biblography:

(1) "Green Cove Resident Remembers Times Past" by J.M Fairbanks

(2) "BRISTOL,TENN-VA COLLECTIBLE BOTTLES & THEIR HISTORY:" Copyrighted by Charlie Barnette www.bristol-tenn-va-bottles.com

(3) "A History of Damascus (1793-1950)" by Louise Fortune Hall Copyright 1950


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