Thursday, August 7, 2014

Downieville Soda Works

Quite a few years ago my old digging buddy Bob Kaiser and I stumbled across a few turn of the century soda bottles next to a building that once housed the Downieville Soda Works. I say stumbled but what we really did was dig beneath  and beside a building that I was working on.

If memory serves we found some embossed hutch style bottles from other cities and even a Truckee hutch but nothing that was embossed Downieville.

During the rain this week I took a walk over to the old soda works building and happened to spy a piece of glass peaking through the surface. A quick 10 minutes of scratching uncovered a few more soda bottles. First a weird shaped 10 pin, then a California Soda Works hutch and finally something that got my attention, a Pioneer Soda Water Co. S.F. with the "hairy bear" embossed on it

All in all nothing to write home about but a fun few bottles to find and a pleasant morning surprise.

Downieville Soda Works in back of, you guessed it, a Saloon

Seems like Downieville, during the 1890's to 1930's, was a poor over the hill mining town. Heck, merchants in town couldn't afford to have a bottle manufactured to bottle their soda in so they gathered what soda bottles they could get their hands on. filled em' up, slapped a paper label over the embossing and peddled them to the locals. 

These few bottles and the old soda works spot sure brought back some  memory's of the good old days digging in the Downieville area with Bob and the gang.
- rs -


  1. Congratulations Rick
    What a nice surprise.

  2. That kind of stuff is always fun to find..especially if it is from a local business. It does not need to be "epic" glass to be important historically.
    Congrats on the finds! Dale M.

  3. Rick I was wondering if there are any bottles embossed with Downieville? Druggists, or ???
    Thanks, Dale M.

  4. I've always liked the crudely designed eagle on the California Soda Works hutches. There are at least two different bear variants on the tooled crown Pioneers. One of my examples came from a trash pit in Mountain View on an old farm property. I dug the pit with Bob Kaiser and his Dad. Bob got the nice Los Gatos milk, I got the Pioneer soda. The Pioneer hutch with the bear is the hard one to find. Jason