We have five very important senses. Sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell. Each sense serves a distinct purpose. Not many things can evoke each sense, but an ice cold Coca-Cola can.
Think about it, we touch the bottle, hear the crack of a bottle opener, see the bubbles fizzing, smell the syrup and taste the addictively sweet liquid. I bet you didn’t know two of these senses have the ability to take you back in time. Taste and smell are closely linked to memories. Let me quickly take you on a trip down Terre Haute’s memory lane. It just might make that Coke you’re drinking taste even better.
Okay, take a sip of your Coke and close your eyes as we travel through time. Colors are blurring, dates are being ripped from calendars, clocks are spinning backward. Whew, 106 years into the past, we made it.
On the corner of 3rd Street and Voorhees sits a local glass company, completely unknown to the nation. That is, until it won Coca-Cola’s national bottle design competition. On November 16, 1915, Chapman Root, founder of the Root Glass Company, patented his contoured glass bottle design. This design set Coca-Cola apart from other soda companies as every unique soda came in the same bottle. Root acquired bottling franchises to form the Associated Coca-Cola Bottlers in 1939, making his company the largest independent Coca-Cola bottler for 30 years.
Take another sip, it’s time to come home. Colors blurring, calendar dates fluttering, clocks moving forward, you know the drill. Take a look around Terre Haute in 2021. Coca-Cola bottle sculptures dot the town, each one with a story as unique as the bottle itself. These sculptures represent businesses and organizations that, like the Coca-Cola bottle, are important to Terre Haute’s history.
By seeking out these pieces of art, residents and visitors learn the history of each sponsor. In front of the Vigo County Historical Museum sits a bottle sponsored by the Root family. The City of Terre Haute proudly boasts their bottle outside City Hall. Each bottle is painted with details catered to the sponsor, and some even contain Easter Eggs and hidden secrets. But I won’t tell you where all the bottles are. You’ll have to explore town and find the other 25 yourself. So, grab your friends, go on an adventure, take lots of pictures and post them using the hashtags #SeeYouInTerreHaute and #FindACokeTH and share a Coke with Terre Haute.