Camden is a city in and the county seat of Ouachita County in the southern part of the U.S. state of Arkansas. According to 2007 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the city was 11,657. Camden is the principal city of the Camden Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Ouachita and Calhoun counties.
Colonial Revival Examples:
THE SAXON-MOORE HOUSE
One of the oldest homes in the neighborhood retaining much of it's original exterior, Te Saxon-Moore Home, dating from the very edge of the century, illustrates Tuscan Columns, Colonial style door surrounds, and cornice returns in the gable ends. (For nearly a century in one family ownership of the Saxton and Moore Family, The house is now presented by Ellen Tutt).
THE WILL PARKER HOUSE
The Parker home was built during 1908 by Mr. and Mrs. Will Parker, just after their marriage in 1907. Timbers used to build the house were cut from the property owned by John Nunn Parker and milled in the family Sawmill, located west of town. Additions to the house were made in stages and make a rambling structure, but they document a family history.
The house reflects architectual marks coinciding with the era of construction and remodel such as colonial revival in cornice returns in gable ends and Craftman influence in porch supports.
The home is currently owned and occupied by Bill and Carol Hawkins.
THE WALKER- HOLLIMAN HOUSE
Built during 1898, This house is one of the oldest in the neighborhood, Occupied by the walker family during the early years and later by their daughter vera Alice Walker/Holliman.
Currently owned by Bill and Carol Hawkins.
The Atchison House
The Atchison House of Early Twentieth Century orgin, is a well kept example of Colonial Revival genre, Illustrating Tuscan Columns with Transoms and sidelights door surrounds.
THE RICHIE-CRAWFORD HOUSE.
IN STRIKING DISPLAY OF NEOCLASSICAL STYLES THE RICHIE-CRAWFORD HOUSE WHICH FEATURES FULL HEIGHT FLUTED COLUMNS CAPPED WITH IONIC CAPITOLS WHICH SUPPORT THE ROOF OF THE TWO STORY PORCH. ABOVE THE PORCH IS A CLASSICAL PEDIMENT PUNCTUATED WITH AN INFILLED OX-EYE WINDOW. COMPLETED IN 1909 FOR THE FAMILY OF BUSINESSMAN WALTER RICHIE, THE HOME IN SUBSEQUENT DECADES WAS OWNED BY CLYDE AND MAUDE CRAWFORD . IT WAS FROM THIS HOME THAT MRS. CRAWFORD, AN ATTORNEY, MYSTERIOUSLY DISAPPEARED ON MARCH 2, 1957 IN ONE OF ARKANSAS' MOST TALKED ABOUT UNSOLVED MYSTERIES.
THE RAMSEY-McCLELLAN HOUSE.
DEMONSTRATING NEOCLASSICAL MOTIF, ECLECTICALLY COMBINED WITH QUEEN ANNE ELEMENTS, THE RAMSEY-McCLELLAN HOUSE WAS BUILT FOR PROMINENT BUSINESSMAN AND BANKER W.K. RAMSEY- AND WAS SUBSEQUENTLY OCCUPIED BY THE FAMILY OF JOHN L. McCLELLAN AT THE TIME MR. McCLELLAN WAS FIRST ELECTED TO THE UNITED STATES SENATE. DESIGNED BY ARKANSAS' PREMIER TURN OF THE CENTURY ARCHITECT, CHARLES THOMPSON OF LITTLE ROCK, THE HOUSE EXIBITS FULL HEIGHT FLUTED COLUMNS CAPPED WITH COMPOSITE IONIC CAPITALS. BOTH THE FIRST AND SECOND STORIES HAVE CURVED PORCHES THAT EXTEND IN A SEMICIRCULAR SWEEP AROUND THE FRONT OF THE HOUSE, AND A ROOF BALUSTRADE ENCLOSES A "WIDOW'S WALK." ( THE HOUSE IS CURRENTLY IN RESTORATION BY THE OWNERS, ANGELA AND HENRY PRYOR).
THE MORGAN- ALESHIRE HOUSE
BUILT FOR WELL KNOWN BUSINESSMAN MR. A.L. MORGAN IN 1918, THE MORGAN HOME REPRESENTS ONE OF THE EARLIER AND MORE EXPANSIVE OF THE CRAFTSMAN STRUCTURES IN TOWN. NOTE THE AMPLE PORCH WITH SQUARE BRICK COLUMN SUPPORTS- AND ALSO THE DETAIL IN THE STAIRWAY TO THE STREET.(MUCH RESTORATION HAS BEEN DONE BY THE CURRENT OWNERS AND RESIDENTS, GEORGE AND SANDRA ALESHIRE).
THE BIVENS HOUSE.
BUILT FOR LOCAL BUSINESSMAN, FELIX M. BIVENS, THE BIVENS HOUSE ( 1925) SURVIVES WITH NO CHANGES TO THE EXTERIOR. THIS EXAMPLE OF THE CRAFTSMAN STYLE REMAINED IN THE BIVENS FAMILY UNTIL 1999. CURRENTLY BEING RESTORED BY OWNERS BILL AND CAROL HAWKINS
THE DUNN HOUSE
SUCH CRAFTSMAN FEATURES AS WIDE EAVE OVERHANG, EXPOSED RAFTERS, AND SQUARE COLUMNS AS PORCH SUPPORTS ARE SEEN IN THE DUNN HOUSE, BUILT BETWEEN 1922 AND 1924 IN THE OIL BOOM DAYS FOR MRS. J. DUNN ON THE SITE WHERE A PREVIOUS HOUSE HAD BURNED. THE OBSERVER SHOULD RECOGNIZE SIMILARITIES TO MANY OTHER STRUCTURES IN TOWN DATING FROM THAT TIME.
THE WALLS-HUSSMAN HOUSE .
The Walls-Hussman house first appeared on the tax records in 1926 under the name of Virgil N. Walls, valued at $4000.-then a substantial sum. It was built on land acquired from prominent banker, investor, and developer Henry Berg, who lived two blocks to the eastand had recently acquired vacant tracks on the new section of Clifton Street. One of the town's more attractive structures of modest scale , the walls house would subsequently be the home of such well known residents as dry goods merchant Ben King (1930's) and newspaper publisher Walter Hussman (1940's-1950's) . Hussman was then owner of the Camden News and later heir to the multi-city Palmer newspaper holdings. The house was a childhood home for Walter Hussman,Jr. now publisher of the Arkansas Democrat Gazette and owner of other media interest in the state. The house is cross-gabled brick structure with an upper half story. It is distinguished in the neighborhood by its Spanish style tile roof. A square sunroom projects from under the front gable and is covered by a flat roof with tiled pitched eaves. Craftsman marks are seen in triangular knee braces and exposed rafters
The home is currently owned by Bill Ainsworth and David Matthews.
THE BERG-McCOY HOUSE.
This house was built in 1928-1929 by the Bergs. The one story brick is front gabled with a wide porch under a secondary roof. In Craftsman mode, the roofs are low in pitch and the porch is supported by four brick piers topped with wooden columns but with the middle two flanked by larger ones. Unlike many Craftsman structures, the eaves are boxed. The house is owned by the William McCoy family.
Berg-Newman Apartment House
This is a two story stucco clad duplex with one apartment on each floor. The house,dating from 1926 or soon after, is cross gabled with an irregular rectangular footprintbut with a projection extending across much of the western side. Each apartment opens onto a rectangular porch extending across the center half of the front facade. The two level porch is supported by massive square stucco piers and is covered by a hip roof. Entrance doors to each apartment open on either side of the downstairs porch and are fronted by concrete stairs covered by shed roofs. Triangular knee braces at several points and exposed rafters provide Craftsman accents that typify many other contemporary structures.
TUDOR AND MINIMAL TRADITIONAL
THE REDDING HOUSE
THE REDDING HOUSE BUILT IN THE 1930'S FOR SAM REDDING( NOW OWNED BY WANDA AND TONY SILEN), ILLUSTRATES MINIMAL TRADITIONAL MOTIF..
QUEEN ANNE EXAMPLES
THE GREENING HOUSE
THE NAMESAKE HOUSE FOR GREENING STREET AND THE OLDEST SURVIVING HOUSE IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD, THE GREENING HOUSE WAS COMPLETED FOR ELDRIDGE GREENING, A TURN OF THE CENTURY COTTON BUYER.
FROM 1919 UNTIL THE 1950'S IT SERVED AS THE PARSONAGE FOR THE FIRST METHODIST CHURCH.
THE HOUSE REFLECTS AN AUSTERE VERSION OF QUEEN ANNE STYLE, FEATURING A HIPPED ROOF WITH INTERSECTING GABLES, BELT COURSES GIRDING THE EXTERIOR WALL, FISHSCALE SHINGLES IN THE APEX OF THE FRONT GABLE, AND A BAY PROJECTION ON THE WEST SIDE. ( RESTORATION AND PRESERVATION IS THE WORK OF CURRENT RESIDENTS, JOHN AND KAREN COONS.)
John Parker House
THE JOHN HOBSON PARKER HOUSE (C. 1902) REFLECTS QUEEN ANNE FEATURES IN ROOFLINES, BAY PROJECTION AND PORCH ORNAMENTATION. JOHN HOBSON PARKER SERVED AS OUACHITA COUNTY CLERK FROM 1908 TIL 1910. HE WAS THEN ELECTED SHERIFF OF OUACHITA COUNTY AND SERVED FROM 1910 UNTIL HE RESIGNED IN 1914 TO TAKE AN APPOINTMENT BY WOODROW WILSON TO BE A UNITED STATES MARSHALL FOR THE FT. SMITH TERRITORY.
( INITIAL RECOVERY WAS NURTURED BY MR. AND MRS. HERBERT GARNER AND CURRENT RESTORATION AND PRESERVATION BY BILL AND CAROL HAWKINS)
THE PHILLIPS-PETERS HOUSE.
BUILT EARLY IN THE CENTURY( AT SOME TIME BEFORE 1907), THE PHILLIPS-PETERS HOME, DESPITE THE REMOVAL OF ORIGINAL WOOD ORNAMENT PORCH DETAIL, REFLECTS QUEEN ANNE TREND AND FEATURES BRACKETS ON THE FRONT GABLE. NOTE THE DETAIL( ADDED LATER) IN THE STAIRWAY AT THE SIDEWALK AND ONE OF THE FEW OLD HITCHING POSTS REMAINING IN TOWN- MOST OF THEM IN THIS NEIGHBORHOOD. (BOYHOOD HOME OF PROMINENT NEW ORLEANS BUSINESS, MR. JOHN PHILLIPS, THE HOME IN RECENT DECADES HAS BEEN OWNED AND OCCUPIED BY THE LLOYD PETERS FAMILY)
In 1783, a French trader named Fabre settled on a bluff above the Ouachita River and called the settlement “Ecore Fabre” (Faber’s Bluff or the Hill of Faber). This would mark the permanent settlement of what would become Camden. The city of Camden marks its founding as 1824, but it was not incorporated and officially named “Camden” until 1844. Some controversy exists over the origin of the name but most agree it is named for Camden, Alabama, the hometown of General Thomas Woodward, an early city founder. Prior to the name change from Ecore Fabre to Camden, the location was simply known as "The Bluff".
Truck and Grader
In the American Civil War, Camden was occupied for several months in 1864 by Union soldiers as a part of the Union army's ill fated Red River Campaign. During this epidode the Confederate victory in the Battle of Poison Springs occurred west of the city on April l8, 1864.
For several decades, Camden was the headquarters of the Clyde E. Palmer newspaper chain, which included the Camden News, the Texarkana Gazette, the Hot Springs Sentinel-Record, and the Magnolia Banner News. Later the company shifted to Little Rock, when it acquired the Arkansas Democrat and later merged it with acquired assets from the Arkansas Gazette to establish the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
Palmer's son-in-law, Walter E. Hussman, Sr. (1906–1988), and Palmer's grandson, Walter E. Hussman, Jr. (born 1947), were threafter publishers of the Camden News and chief executive officers of the Palmer properties. Hussman, Jr., is the publisher of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in Little Rock, home of the Palmer-Hussman management.
In pre-Civil War days Camden was a bustling river port and mercantile center at the headwaters of the Ouachita River, and the town remained an important cotton shipping depot through the early decades of the twentieth century. Before the steamboat era faded, Camden had become a railroad town--served by the mainline of the St. Louis Southwestern (Cotton Belt) and by branch lines of the Missouri Pacific and the Rock Island. A major economic infusion accompanied the South Arkansas oil boom of the 1920's and a new International Paper Co. mill in 1927. Near the end of World War II thousands of new jobs were created with the 1944 construction of a Naval Ammunition Depot across the Ouachita at Shumaker--and a resurgence of that activity during the Korean War. An economic downturn following the post Korean War closure of that plant was addressed by redeveloping its facilities and grounds into an extensive industrial area which, in time, came to host some major defense establishments and multiple smaller industries. A technical campus of Southern Arkansas University also located there. In the 1990's, post Cold-War downsizing of the defense industry brought severe job losses--and resulting population decline--to the Camden area as did the closure of the International Paper Co. mill a few years later. But in recent years a partial resurgence of defense contracts and a diversified mixture of small business and professional activity have stablized the town's economy at a level below the peak levels of the boom years. As one of Arkansas'most historic towns, the city attracts considerable heritage tourism.
Camden was the home of the Grapette and Orangette soft drinks with flavors developed by B.T. Fooks. (In 2005, Sam's Choice Grapette and Sam's Choice Orangette again became available in Wal-Mart stores nationwide.)
Grapette International, Inc.
Distinctively designed delivery truck driven by Grapette distributors.
Courtesy of the Cabot High School Museum
Grapette soda was developed by Benjamin Tyndle Fooks in Camden (Ouachita County) in 1939. Once one of the bestselling non-cola soft drinks in the United States, Grapette virtually disappeared from the marketplace for most of the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s after being bought by a leading competitor. As the twenty-first century began, Grapette International in Malvern (Hot Spring County), the last remaining subsidiary of Fooks’s Grapette Company, re-acquired the Grapette and Orangette trademarks, reuniting the original flavors with the brand names. Currently Grapette, Orangette, and two other flavors made by Grapette International are distributed nationwide exclusively in Wal-Mart stores as part of their store brand line of soft drinks.
Cover of a Grapette advertising brochure aimed at distributors and retailers; circa 1950s.
Courtesy of the Cabot High School Museum
Fooks bought a soft-drink bottling plant in Camden in 1926 after leaving the lumber business. He bought a second plant in Arkadelphia (Clark County) in 1927 and added a third in Hope (Hempstead County) the following year, which he used as a warehouse. However, the Depression forced him to close and sell his operations in Arkadelphia and Hope. Fooks focused on developing unique flavors from his plant in Camden, selling “Fooks Flavors” to other bottling plants throughout Arkansas, Louisiana, and east Texas. Fooks Flavors never attempted to match existing soft drinks, relying instead on unique tastes, like blackberry punch.
The Murals of Camden 01
Camden is know as the city of History and its extensive murals certain illustrate that point.
Fooks’s beverage sales continued to climb. Initially relying on his father and brother to assist with sales, Fooks added two friends to his sales force in 1932, and sales increased seven-fold. Sales reports showed that grape flavors were the most popular with customers, so in 1938, Fooks began experimenting with the distinctive grape flavor that was to become Grapette. By 1939, he had developed the flavor he wanted. Searching for a name for the new soft drink, Fooks found that the owner of the Sunset Liquor Company, Rube Goldstein, had registered trademarks for the names “Grapette,” “Lemonette,” and “Orangette” but had never used them. In 1939, Fooks purchased the copyrighted names for $500, and the following year, Grapette entered the market.
Camden Daffodil Festival
The Camden Daffodil Festival held each March features daffodil and historic home tours, arts and crafts, and more.
Grapette was an immediate success, eventually outselling all other grape sodas combined. The Grapette bottle itself was an innovation. It was very lightweight (six ounces) and clear, which allowed the liquid to show through the glass. Grapette was also sold in a thirty-bottle case instead of the conventional twenty-four-bottle case, making it attractive to retailers.
Poison Springs Battlefield Marker
Civil War Battlefield marker for Poison Springs State Park in Ouachita Count
In 1946, Lemonette became available, followed by Orangette in 1947. Grapette introduced the “Mr. Cola” line of soft drinks in 1962. Further flavor introductions included Lymette, Cherryette, and Strawberryette, but they never reached the popularity of other flavors.
Graham-Gaughan-Betts Home, Camden
In 1948, Grapette introduced its famous “animal” syrups—animal-shaped glass containers that held syrup to be mixed with water. In 1965, a line of five flavors, including Grapette, became available in six-ounce frozen concentrate. Grapette expanded rapidly from 1950 to 1970, utilizing more than 300 bottlers in thirty-eight states.
Umstead House Bed & Breakfast, Camden Historic District
In 1942, R. Paul May, a friend of Fooks from Camden, acquired the rights to Grapette outside the United States. The Grapette Export Company was officially established in 1944, becoming Grapette International in 1962. May sold his first Grapette franchise in Guatemala in 1945 and sold other franchises throughout Latin America thereafter. In 1972, May was succeeded by his son-in-law, Brooks T. Rice. Rice solidified the business in Latin America and also expanded the company into the Caribbean and Southeast Asia.
McCollum-Chidester House in Camden
Domestically, however, Grapette was in decline. Through a series of acquisitions, the company was named Flavette in 1972 and was eventually controlled by the Monarch Company, the maker of rival Nu-Grape, in 1977. Without proper franchise support, market share tumbled, and Grapette virtually disappeared from the market. By the 1990s, Grapette was only being produced in limited areas.
Camden Visitors Center and Museum
In the late 1980s, Brooks Rice met Sam Walton, and soon, Wal-Mart was using Grapette flavors in its Sam’s Choice line of soft drinks. In early 2000, Grapette International purchased the U.S. rights to the Grapette and Orangette trademarks, and in 2005, Grapette and Orangette became available exclusively in Wal-Mart stores nationwide. In addition to Grapette and Orangette, Wal-Mart uses Grapette International’s raspberry and grapefruit flavors in its private label line of soft drinks.
Daffodil Heaven in Camden
This is a rare prewar Botl-O bottle with a red label. Botl-O was one of the soft drinks acquired by B. T. Fooks during the early expansion of the company. The line was dropped during World War II, when the company concentrated its efforts on promotion and production of Grapette. Botl-O was reintroduced in 1948. The Botl-O line had 14 different flavors in a single style bottle, with the cap indicating the flavor contained inside.
10 Ounce Sunburst Cola
10 ounce bottle of Sunburst Cola. Sunburst was one of the soft drinks acquired by B. T. Fooks during the early expansion of the company. The line was dropped during World War II, when the company concentrated its efforts on promotion and production of Grapette. Sunburst was reintroduced in 1948. The Sunburst line had 14 different flavors in a single style bottle, with the cap indicating the flavor contained inside.
7 ounce bottle of Grapette. The "twist" bottle was introduced in 1950 and was intended to make a consumer able to distinguish a bottle of Grapette from Coca-Cola when reaching into an ice chest.
Some accounts have it that, for a brief period, Grapette syrup was distributed in bear-shaped containers obtained from Snow Crest, another bottler. Regardless, the bear bank is not considered to be a real Grapette bank, since it was not manufactured expressly for Grapette.
If anyone mentions the "pig bank" to you, they are showing their own ignorance. Snow Crest made a pig bank, but it is certain that it was never used by Grapette.
Grapette Syrup Container Kitten Bank
For a brief period, Grapette syrup was distributed in containers shaped like kittens. The kitten containers were discontinued because the automated filling machine required a container that was symmetrical in the horizontal plane. Because the kitten containers were not symmetrical, they would often arrive under the spout of the filling machine with the hole in the container off center with the filling machine spout. The kittens were soon discontinued. They were replaced by the "slick-eared" elephant.
This is a complete set of kitten banks in all eight of the flavors available at the time:
Snow Crest Syrup Container Bear Bank
Some accounts have it that, for a brief period, Grapette syrup was distributed in bear-shaped containers obtained from Snow Crest, another bottler.
This is an original Snow Crest grape syrup bank bottle. The lid is stamped with a price of 35 cents.
Grapette Syrup Container Slick-Eared Elephant Bank
This is the holy grail of Grapette banks -- the "slick-eared" or "smooth-eared" or "stippled" elephant. It was the successor to the ill-fated kitten bank.
Introduced in 1950, the elephant bank was made of much thinner glass than the kitten bank. The result was that the bottles were very easily broken, making a sticky mess on grocers' shelves. Thus, very few of these bottles were actually produced, making them a very valuable collector's item today.
This bank should not be confused with the ordinary elephant bank. The slick-eared elephant is worth many, many times more than the ordinary elephant.
Grapette Syrup Container Clown Bank
Grapette syrup containers had a slot in the screw-on cap so that the container could be saved as used as a bank after the syrup was gone.
'46 Bottle of Grapette
The Grapette logo was added on the neck of the 6 ounce bottle in 1945. The '46 and later 6 ounce bottles have the Grapette logo up higher on the neck than the uncommon '45 bottle.
Fooks' Blackberry Punch Cardboard
Size: 14" x 5½"
Fooks' Flavors preceded Grapette. This is an original Fooks' Blackberry Punch cardboard advertising piece.
Deep in the soul of every veteran soft drink bottler there must be a little six-ounce bottle of Grapette. Spunky little Grapette -- the grape-flavored soda that people could enjoy "thirsty or not" - epitomized the American soft drink industry of the 30's, 40's, and 50's. Those were the years of the corner grocery, with paint-chipped wooden cases rattling with favorite regional brands. Grapette was one of those hometown soft drinks that made it big. It was also one of those brands gobbled up when the Age of Acquisitions dawned in the late 60's.
Tate Cotton Field
The Beginning - Fooks Flavors
The story of Grapette begins with the birth of its founder, Benjamin Tyndle Fooks on July 15, 1901 in Paducah, Kentucky. Like his father before him, he was in the lumber business until 1925 when he lost interest and purchased a service station in Camden, Arkansas. At that time, Camden had a population of less than 3,000.
The service station business wasn't bad, but it wasn't good, either. So, when Henry Furlow, one of his local customers, stopped for service, Tyndle Fooks pumped gasoline and listened with interest to Furlow's talk of business in general and his desire to sell a small soft drink bottling plant on one of the town's two main streets. Before closing time, Fooks (pronounced like "folks") had gathered and appraised all details, inspected the bottling plant on Adams Street, and made a momentous decision. Borrowing $4,000 from Charles Saxon, a friend and local business man, Tyndle soon became the newest entry in the nation's growing soft drink industry.
Being entirely unfamiliar with the beverage business, Tyndle studied it diligently, reading all that he could about it. In 1928, he began experimenting with the manufacture of soft drink flavors. Until 1930, all of the flavors that he manufactured were used in his own plants and by close friends in the soft drink business. The early years of the company were experimental ones, especially in the area of flavoring.
When the struggle to pay for his bottling plant began to ease, he "pioneered" into southwest Arkansas as the first bottler to make regular truck deliveries into the rural areas. It wan not easy - graveled roads were almost non-existent on the country routes at that time, and dirt roads, sand beds, and chuck holes really beat up his second-hand trucks.
In 1927 he bought a second small bottling plant in Arkadelphia, about 60 miles from Camden. The second plant was so successful that it paid for itself in its first year. In 1928, a third plant was purchased in nearby Hope, Arkansas. But the depression hit and times turned tough before the third plant could ever be put into operation -- it was used only as a warehouse.
Sitting On A Cotton Bale
For some time, Fooks had experimented with flavors -- changing, adding, correcting; steadily improving formulas that he had purchased in order to cut his flavor expense. With the stock market crash in 1928, he began in earnest to develop a quality line of flavors. During this period, he mixed, bottled, and drove trucks. In the winter, when the demand for soft drinks was low, he made peanut patties and coconut brittle along with his drinks -- anything to keep his plants open and running.
Business was terrible, and in order to pull the Camden plant through the depression he sold the Arkadelphia building and machinery, and closed the warehouse at Hope. With a selection of "Fooks Flavors" in his car, he began to travel in Arkansas, Louisiana, and east Texas, taking orders from other bottling plants for his flavors. Following each trip he returned to Camden and mixed the flavors which he had just sold. His "factory" was the syrup room of the bottling plant.
Unable to purchase new containers, he bought and sterilized used gallon jugs and cleaned reclaimed shipping cartons. "Fooks Flavors" grossed $4,500 that year and the "B.T. Fooks Manufacturing Company" was enthusiastically, if not somewhat shakily, established. In the second year, still doing the selling and manufacturing himself, Fooks doubled his sales -- and bought new containers and shipping cartons.
Through the years, the B.T. Fooks Manufacturing Company became widely known as a producer of unusual blends and high quality concentrates and its products were sold throughout the United States. Flavors manufactured were either sold as "Fooks Flavors" or for private labels. He never attempted to duplicate existing franchise drinks. Among the many flavors offered was a popular blackberry punch flavored drink, and the company's slogan was "Particular Folks Drink Fooks Drinks".
In 1936, Fooks chose his first group of permanent helpers. For salesmen, he added his father T.D. Fooks, his brother J.D. Fooks, and two close friends -- Hubert Owen, and W.W. Davis. T.D. and J.D. Fooks each had only very brief experience in bottling plants. Owen was manager of a Camden grocery store. Davis was a hotel clerk in Shreveport, Louisiana. The faith that Tyndle placed in them was amply repaid -- they built his flavor business.
Share Cropper Raising Corn Crop
Grapette is Born
It became evident from sales reports that grape flavors were by far the most popular with customers. A study by the Grapette marketing team revealed that there were also not very many grape flavored drinks on the market, probably because a good reproduction of the taste of fresh grapes had not been developed. So, in 1938, with the help of a group of trusted employees, Tyndle began experimenting with grape flavors in an effort to produce a flavor that matched the taste of fresh grapes. Many experiments were made with fresh grape juice, but the pasteurization process necessary for bottling inevitably foiled each attempt. It was eventually decided that the true flavor of fresh concord grapes could only be duplicated with the help of artificial flavoring. Many experiments were made with aroma producing esters, subtle acids, dextrose, and other ingredients, along with natural elements of grape juice. In the process, several unusual and desirable grape flavors were produced and marketed to others as open-stock concentrates. After nearly two years of experimentation, the special taste that was to make Grapette distinctive was finally developed.
At the same time that Tyndle began experimenting with grape flavors, he also decided to search for a new product name for the grape soft drink that he was developing. He charged Hubert Owen with the task of coming up with the new name. Owen and an assistant conducted a local contest in an effort to come up with a suitable name, but that effort was unsuccessful. In 1939, Owen went to Washington, D.C. to search the U.S. Patent Office's trademark files for a suitable name. There, he learned that a man named Rube Goldstein had filed a trademark registration for the names of "Grapette", "Lemonette", and "Orangette". Further research revealed that Goldstein owned a bottling company that operated in Virginia and North Carolina, bottling a soft drink by the name of "Tiny" which used one of Fooks' grape flavor concentrates and was bottled in a six ounce bottle. However, Goldstein had never actually used the Grapette, Lemonette, or Orangette names for his products. In March of 1940, Tyndle and Owen took the train to Chicago, where they met with Goldstein and purchased the Grapette, Lemonette, and Orangette trademarks for $500.
In the spring of 1940, the newly developed flavor was officially named Grapette and put on the market. It was an immediate success, primarily because of the authentic grape taste of the drink.
Ford Tri-Motor Airplane
flew into Camden and you could take a ride on it for $3.00 dollars
Also, the six ounce Grapette bottle itself was very innovative. It was very lightweight and clear, allowing the attractive purple drink to show through the glass. The majority of soft drinks at that time were sold in six or seven ounce bottles. Grapette was produced in six ounce bottles, but a much smaller bottle. The small size of the bottle was made possible by eliminating half of the glass normally used in similar capacity soft drink bottles. Because the bottle was thinner and had less glass, it chilled much more quickly than other bottled soft drinks. Also, the small size allowed more bottles to fit into refrigerators, ice boxes, and coolers. Bottlers were also pleased because the Grapette bottles were less expensive to purchase than those of other soft drink franchisers.
Syrup Making on Morgan Farm
Bottled Grapette was sold in a 30-bottle case for $1.00 wholesale, whereas other soft drinks were sold in conventional 24-bottle cases for 80 cents wholesale. The Grapette case had many advantages over other cases. It was three inches shorter, yet held 25% more bottles. When filled, it weighed only 30 pounds. Competitors' 24-bottle cases typically weighed 40 to 50 pounds when filled. This allowed Grapette bottlers to use ¾ and 1 ton delivery trucks instead of the heavier trucks required by other brands.
The company's first slogan to appear on bottles, "Close to Nature", was challenged by the U.S. government because it implied that the product was natural. Hubert Owen went to Washington D.C. and met with the head of the department responsible for the challenge. It became apparent to Owen that the man was firm in his decision, so Owen asked if the man's superior might reverse the decision. The man replied that "he might, but he would call me first and see what I think". Realizing that this was a lost cause, Owen returned to Camden.
With the loss of its slogan, Tyndle began searching for another one. In less than a year, the slogan was changed to "The Reason is in the Bottle". This slogan lasted for about 6 months, being followed by "Made Just Right", then "Thirst's Best Bet". In 1944, Bryan and Bryan, a Shreveport advertising company, came up with the slogan "Thirsty or Not" which was to be used by the company up until the sale of the company in 1972.
When World War II began, Tyndle dropped many of his other flavors, including Botl-O and Sunburst, and put all of the company's efforts into the manufacture and promotion of Grapette. Even though the war caused many restrictions and shortages of materials, the sale of the Grapette product soared. In fact, the company was so successful that they added an export division in 1944.
Sugar was rationed during the war years and was particularly difficult to obtain for items considered as luxuries, such as soda pop. Tyndle is reputed to have worked around this by cleverly working with his sugar supplier. The supplier re-liquified granulated sugar by simply adding water. This allowed it to be passed as syrup, which was not rationed.
Portable Steam Driven Sawmill
The B.T. Fooks Manufacturing Company was renamed The Grapette Company in 1946. It remained a privately held corporation.
In 1946, a new fruit flavor was added to the line to complement Grapette. Lemonette, a drink containing a considerable amount of real citrus juice, was introduced. Lemonette received a very favorable public response. Orangette, another true flavor drink containing a large portion of real orange juice, followed in 1947. The Botl-O and Sunburst lines were reintroduced in 1948, each having over 14 flavors in a single style of bottle, with the bottle cap denoting the flavor contained inside.
Parade in Camden
The original 6-ounce bottle gradually gave way to a 7-ounce, then 8, 10, and 14-ounce bottles. The "twist" was added to the previously smooth-sided bottles in 1950. The twist was added so that the consumer could distinguish a Grapette bottle submerged in an ice chest from competitors by feel.
In 1962, Grapette mounted a challenge to the Coca-Cola when it introduced the Mr. Cola line of soft drinks. Mr. Cola was immediately accepted, and was very popular. Its popularity came in large part because it introduced the 16-ounce size bottle to the public. Mr. Cola was also available in 10 and 12 ounce bottles.
In 1963, the Lymette product was added. However, Lymette never achieved the popularity of the other flavors.
At its peak, Grapette had over 600 bottlers in 38 states. A popular drink of the Grapette era was the "purple cow" -- a float made with Grapette and vanilla ice cream.
Old Betsy Cannon
Grapette Syrup Products
Grapette introduced its syrup product line in the fall of 1948. The original syrup product was sold in 8-ounce containers for 33 cents. A consumer could produce a very tasty non-carbonated soft drink at home by mixing one part of the syrup with seven parts of water. For 33 cents, the consumer could make a gallon of beverage.
The container itself was made in the shape of a sitting kitten or cat. The metal screw-on cap had a slot in it so that, after the container was empty, the cardboard seal under the cap could be removed and the container used as a bank. This novelty greatly added to the appeal of the new product. Because of a shortage of glass at the time, Grapette also, for a brief period, purchased and used a bear-shaped bank from Snow Crest.
However, the kitten-shaped bank turned out to have serious problems. The opening in the top of the bottle was not centered on the axis of the base, making the bottle difficult to fill with automatic filling machinery. Its irregular shape also defied machine labeling. Special 12-bottle adapters had to be built to hold the bottles in the proper place during filling. The adapters had to be loaded by hand, taken to the filler, then moved to the delivery conveyor. The caps had to be started by hand, and the labels had to be applied by hand. With all of the manual effort required, production was limited to only about 2,000 12-bottle cases per day. In the meantime, sales were so encouraging that the company began to consider national distribution of the syrup product. However, the kitten bank was an impediment to increased production that would be required to meet the demand. Therefore, the kitten bank had to be replaced.
The Nunn House
In 1950, a new syrup bank was developed and marketed locally. The new bank was in the shape of an elephant. However, the new bank was made of much thinner glass. The result was that the bottles were very easily broken, making a sticky mess on grocers' shelves. Thus, very few of these bottles - known as "slick-eared" or "stippled" elephants - were actually produced, making them a very valuable collector's item today.
Millsite International Paper
In 1953, new banks were finally introduced. These were in the shape of an elephant and a clown, and were made of much stronger glass. These were very well accepted and enabled production to increase to over 10,000 cases per day.
The End of Grapette
Tyndle first considered placing the Grapette Company on the market in 1969. However, the most aggressive suitor was the Monarch Company -- his arch rival bottler of NuGrape. Tyndle could not allow Monarch to gain ownership of the company, because he knew that would be the end of Grapette, so he withdrew his attempts to sell the company at that time.
Mechanics At Work
In 1972, Fooks sold the Grapette Company to the Rheingold Corporation, which marketed Rheingold, Ruppert-Knickerbocker, and Gablinger's beers, along with several regional soft drinks in California, New Mexico, and Puerto Rico. Several major changes occurred with the sale. Rheingold changed the company name from Grapette to Flavette, and relocated the company headquarters to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The Grapette bottle was changed to a smooth side with colored dots, and the slogan was replaced with "The Juicy Soda".
Grapette's advertising had always placed a surcharge on each unit of raw syrup sold by distributors, and this surcharge was to be spent by the distributor for advertising only. Rheingold dropped this plan, placing responsibility for advertising solely in the hands of distributors. This resulted in an almost immediate drop in product sales.
In 1975 the Pepsico conglomerate began a hostile takeover of Rheingold, acquiring 80% of the company's stock. The Federal Trade Commission decided that Pepsico would control too many soft drink companies, and, as a condition of the acquisition, ordered that Pepsico divest several prominent soft drink lines. When the takeover was completed in 1977, the Grapette line was sold to Monarch, which shelved the product in favor of their own NuGrape brand.
Ouachita Belle Steamboat
The Monarch Company still owns the domestic rights to Grapette. In 1991, Grapette was released in a few areas to again compete against its old rival NuGrape. The Grapette product also made a brief reappearance, being sold by Walmart stores under the name of "Ozark Farms Sparkling Grape" and "Walmart Grape". It has also been reported that Grapette is currently being marketed with the name "Mello Moon" by a bottler in Paragould, Arkansas. It has also been reported that Monarch itself is again marketing a drink called Grapette Grape Soda, but that it is not the formula known by true connoisseurs of the "real thing".
Grapette became internationally known in 1942 when R. Paul May, a wealthy oil man, persuaded Tyndle to let him develop a market in Latin America. May sold his first franchise in Guatemala City in 1945, and other Latin American franchises soon followed. Armed with his bottling know-how and the foreign rights to market Grapette, May formed Grapette International in 1962. Grapette International has continued to sell and market internationally. Still a popular drink abroad, 70 million bottles of Grapette and other Grapette products are sold annually in South America and Pacific rim countries.
Grapette International is now owned by the Brooks Rice family, and is headquartered in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
History: Ouachita County, Arkansas was formed on November 29, 1842 by Governor Archibald Yell who carved it from the northwestern parts of Union County. The 44th county was named for the beautiful river that flows through it and forms parts of its borders. The name is pronounced "WASH-uh-taw" and is derived from two Choctaw Indian words "oua' and 'chita', translated "big hunt".
Family's Log Wagon
Loading And Unloading
Freeman Smith Commissary
1936 Float, Camden 100 Years Old
Church In Camden
Sunday Outing in Elliott
Cotton Belt Depot
Coca Cola Wagon
City Of Camden
Camden High School Band
Coca Cola Bottling Co.
Coca Cola Bottling Co. Office
Camden High School
Bradley County Courthouse
Bag Pak Paper Division