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Did you ever hear of the Silver Dew Bottling Works?

June 18, 2015
Westfield Republican

Did you ever hear of the Silver Dew Bottling Works?

By Marybelle Beigh

Westfield Historian

Article Photos

Submitted Photo
Pictured is a scan of one of the Silver Dew ads (from microfilmed edition of Westfield Republican, 1930).

Time out for a break in the ongoing search for the history of 44 East Main Street! Hours were spent researching the 1930 Westfield Republican newspapers on microfilm, trying to locate more information about Betts' Battery and Tire Service that opened in January 1930, at 44 E Main. But no ads or any further newspaper articles were located after a large display ad on July 2, 1930, page 10.

How discouraging that was until an intriguing and artistic ad popped up in October 8 1930, on page 7, while researching backward from December It was for "Silver Dew Bottling Works." The ad leads off: "Drowns Out Dryness! Westfield's own Silver Dew Beverages All Popular Flavors Root, Birch, Cherry, Orange, Ginger, Lime, Lemon, Strawberry." Never having heard of this company, a photocopy was printed of the ad, and the search continued for this new "History Mystery" as well as for Betts. An identical ad was found on October 1st.

Searching ever backward, the newspapers of September (page 6) and late August (page 3) each had an even more artistic ad, again identical to each other but not like the later ads.

Then at the beginning of August (the 6th) and also a week before, on July 30th, was a simpler ad with no art work, but which read, "HAVE YOU SEEN IT? - Well, folks, have you noticed our ad on the curtain at the Grand Theatre? How would a case of delicious Carbonated beverages suit you this hot weather[followed by a paragraph describing what was available] Silver Dew Bottling Works." Well where in Westfield was this company located? The ads only provided a phone number!

Of course, other interesting stories caught the eye of the Westfield Historian, in particular, a front page headline on August 6, 1930, "BOAT SINKS - Fifteen Lives are Lost When the Sandsucker, the George J. Whelan, Sank in Lake Erie Between Dunkirk and Barcelona on July 29th" which article was printed out. While skim reading that article, another smaller headlined article was noted immediately following the second column ending of the shipwreck story: "Westfield's Newest Industry Going Strong - The Silver Dew Bottling Works is the latest addition to local manufacturing enterprises the city water is filtered in this most sanitary processmakes their own syrup'Tek' the famous Pittsburgh near beer is handled by the Silver Dew in car load lots. The public is invited to visit the plant located in the John L. White building under the viaduct any day at any hour."

So here's another "history mystery!" What is this John L. White building, and just where was it located under the viaduct? The only building I remembered that was still down under the viaduct was the old Nixon Marble Works building, not far down below the Welch Office Building at the corner of Main and Portage. Well, off to the obituary files to find John L. White! After a couple of false starts, the November 12, 1947 newspaper obituaries provided the right information John L. White, whose parents were James and Minerva White, died at his home on Water Street at age 78. He had been retired for about 25 years (that would mean since about 1922) having at an early age painted carriages made by his father. So after further research, it was discovered that when the Crowell Pulley Works, which was located at the corner of Main and Water near the old Main Street bridge across Chautauqua Creek, burned in April 1902, several other buildings were destroyed including James and John White's blacksmith and carriage paint shop. The article indicated that the Whites intended to rebuild their shop "at once."

All that remained was to examine the Sanborn Maps for the area along West Main from Portage Street to the bank of Chautauqua Gorge. The Pulley Works shows on the Sanborn Maps from 1886, 1891, 1896, and 1902; a carriage works is on the 1886 map, and the blacksmith and paint shop buildings are identified on the next three maps. By 1907, the only building rebuilt after the disastrous fire of 1902, was the Whites' shop, which by the final 1923 Sanborn map, a year after John's retirement, and is labeled Wagon shop 1st and Painting 2nd. The address is "44"

So, would you believe? The new History Mystery actually takes place at 44 WEST Main Street!

Silver Dew Bottling Works is still much of a "history mystery" to be explored. And as always, reader input, photos, bottles of Silver Dew beverages, and so on are requested by the Westfield Historian. Contact info: email or phone 716-326-6171 (home), or 716-397-9254 (cell). Thanks!



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