There was a time when the Pepper family owned land along what is now North Main Street.
W. W. Pepper built his home there. He was on the way to becoming a blacksmith, following his father’s trade, and he studied law at night. He became a lawyer, then a judge, and eventually a politician at the state level.
He was the one who made a hearth set for a friend in Nashville. The friend made Pepper a coat. This friend, once a tailor, was Andrew Johnson, who later became President of the United States.
Eventually, the property was inherited by Thomas Pepper, then by Thomas Pepper, Jr., and by Mary Pepper.
In October, 1939, it was sold to Ed C. Cox and his wife. In 1940, they sold it to the Coca-Cola Bottling Company.
In December, 1940, according to a newspaper article, the Coca-Cola Bottling Plant opened.
The business had been located at 811 South Main. They were there for eight years - until the new building on North Main was ready.
Before that, when the business was first established in Springfield, it occupied a building on Tenth Avenue West, across the street from the L&N Passenger Depot.
The new building was on the main road through Springfield – Main Street, for there was no Memorial Boulevard in 1940.The plant was Art-Deco in style. The brick was trimmed in stone, and there were trees all around the building.
A newspaper article from that time describes “ivory tiles” in the bottling room, making a sanitary condition possible.
On the second floor there was space for advertising, for empty cases, for the “syrup room.”Also in the building there was a coal-run boiler, an access tunnel, and showers.
Fortunately the beauty and the history of the Coca-Cola Bottling Plant have been preserved by the current owners. The business located there is Christmas Done Bright, which sells LED outdoor decorations.
There are still Coca-Cola advertisements displayed; many of them picturing Santa Claus. The old fire bell is there, as is the elevator with its wooden gate.
The combination to the old safe was known by Mary Katherine Rice Swann, the wife of dentist Dr. Joseph E. Swann.
She was not yet married when the new coke plant opened, and she was hired as bookkeeper. During World War II, when manpower was limited, she became general manager and later manager.
She never passed on the combination to the safe.
Christmas Done Bright started in Greenbrier. It was also located in Pigeon Forge for several years.
And this year it will be a very festive part of the Christmas Tour of Homes, sponsored by the Robertson County Historical Society.
Six other places are also on the tour, and tickets will be on sale to members only from Oct. 28 to Nov. 8. After Nov. 8, tickets will be available online.
There are a limited number of the $20 tickets, and none will be sold at the individual sites on Dec. 8.
In the Eagle’s Eye is sponsored by the Robertson County Historical Society. Call 615-382-7173 for more information.