Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


September 27, 2012

Dalton column: Mystery - and history - of 1930s bottle

The beautiful

green bottle pictured on page 15 was discovered in an antique store by Tara Masih, a local editor, writer and former antiques dealer. She found the bottle in a nearby antique store and asked if I could help her discover more information about its history. The bottle says, “Shawsheen Bottling Company, Shawsheen Village, Andover, Mass.,” and its volume is stated as “1 pint 10 ounces.”

I know Shawsheen Dairy was on Tantallon Road, a now nonexistent road that ran between Haverhill Street and Riverina Road, but the bottle doesn’t look like anything a dairy used.

Since Shawsheen Village was called Frye Village until 1919, and the 1920 street directory lists Shawsheen Mills as being the only “Shawsheen” business, Shawsheen Bottling Company likely came into existence after 1920.

In 1926, there was a Shawsheen Spring Bottling Company in Shawsheen Village, according to the book “Andover, A Century of Change” (Eleanor Motley Richardson, Andover Historical Society, 1995), but no location is given. However, I found a document saying that, in 1932, Shawsheen Bottling Company acquired 11-13 Stevens St., Lawrence, and used that location for manufacturing, selling, and distributing carbonated waters until June 11,1946, when the property and bottling equipment was sold to Royal Crown. Furthermore, online I found a bottle for sale that resembles our bottle, only it’s not green. The seller dates it at 1933, and it has “Shawsheen Bottling Co. Lawrence Mass.” on its label, not mentioning either Shawsheen Village or Andover. This would all indicate that our green bottle must have been made in Shawsheen Village between 1921 and 1932.

And what was the bottle used for? The fact that the sturdy-looking, reusable bottle advertises itself rather than any contents suggests to me that some folks could have used it in a way to bypass Prohibition. The dates of the bottling company’s existence in Shawsheen are within the period of Prohibition, 1920-1933, which outlawed the sale, manufacture or transportation of alcohol, but did not prohibit its private ownership or consumption. Additionally, wine could be made at home, under the legal fiction that it was fruit juice, and books about Prohibition mention that homemade wine and beer was plentiful. Of course, the bottle may have contained more innocent products as well.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

    Courtesy photo Megan McCann, left, and Melanie Scharn, right, have launched a fundraising campaign to assist Tammy Jusczak, center, a longtime toddler teacher at Bright Horizons in Andover who is battling cancer.

    A bright spot: Co-workers, parents support day-care teacher with cancer Posted 1 hour ago 1 Photo

    Frances Y.J. Wheeler/Courtesy photo Andover Garden Club welcomes new members, from left, Donna Rudolph, Chris McDermott, Paula Eriksen, Erin Ryan, Debbie Freedman, Anne Collins, Barbara Reichter, Isabel Seely, Caroline Grady and Heather Moody Holman as club president Anne Feeney, left rear, looks on. Fellow new member Linda Shottes Bouchard is missing from the photo.

    Growth spurt for Andover Garden Club Posted 1 hour ago 1 Photo

    U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES/Courtesy photo Dr. Howard Koh will step down as U.S. assistant secretary for health after five years to rejoin Harvard School of Public Health this fall in a new position in its Department of Health Policy and Management.

    Koh to rejoin Harvard School of Public Health Posted 14 days ago 1 Photo
  • 48 locals to pedal in Pan-Mass Challenge Posted 14 days ago

    Courtesy photo Hannah Currie is spending 10 days this summer becoming immersed in the music industry at GRAMMY Camp in Los Angeles.

    Currie hits note at LA's GRAMMY Camp Posted 14 days ago 1 Photo
  • Thursday, July 10, 2014
  • South Church names new senior pastor Posted 21 days ago

    COURTESY PHOTO Andover residents Patrick James, left, Adam Geaslen, Ryan Byrd and Dan Bryant claimed first place at the 35th annual Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence Golf Tournament at Indian Ridge Country Club in town.

    Local foursome aces Boys & Girls Club tourney Posted 21 days ago 2 Photos

    COURTESY PHOTO The Marble sisters --Anna, 8, left, and Isabel, 11 -- post-donatin to Locks of Love.

    Sisters pair up to donate pony tails to Locks of Love Posted 21 days ago 4 Photos
  • AT HOST1

    DESI SMITH/Staff photo Former Andover residents Dana Cohen and his wife, Ginny, back, left, have regularly hosted foreign exchange students since 1989. Farrah Moussa, back right, from Egypt, and Paula Valverde, front right, from Spain, are the latest students to spend a year with the Cohens, who now live in Gloucester.

    Former Andover couple welcomes exchange students for quarter-century Posted 21 days ago 4 Photos
  • Thursday, July 3, 2014
  • LENO1

    FILE PHOTO Jay Leno, who honed his comedy skills growing up in Andover, will receive the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor this fall during a performance at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington.

    In good comedy company Posted 28 days ago 2 Photos

Pictures of the Week