Waco, Texas, located about 100 miles south of the Dallas / Fort Worth Metroplex along Interstate 35 is home to two unique museums, among other Waco attractions, which are very well worth your time to visit. These include the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame and Museum and the Dr. Pepper Muuseum.
This article takes you on a visit to the Dr. Pepper Museum located at 300 S 5th St, Waco, Texas. The building housing this museum is the 1906 Artesian Manufacturing and Bottling Company structure.
The 100 year-old building is listed in the National Register of Historic Places as the “Home of Dr Pepper.” The Dr. Pepper Snapple Group supports this museum but is not the owner.
It All Began in an 1885 Pharmacy
Dr. Pepper is a soft drink invented in Morrison’s Old Corner Drug Store in Waco Texas and is the oldest of the major soft drinks in America.
Waco pharmacist “Doc” Charles Alderton is the man responsible for inventing this soft drink which was sometimes referred to as a “Waco” for the reason that it wasn’t available outside of town. Doc Alderton was an M.D. who graduated from the University of Texas Medical School in Galveston.
Charles Alderton was born in Brooklyn, New York to British immigrants. He went to England to attend college in Stowmarket and returned to Brooklyn During the Westward Expansion Alderton traveled to Texas where he enrolled at the University of Texas in Galveston. After graduating there with a medical degree, Alderton made the choice to work as a pharmacist, moving to Waco, Texas to join W. B. Morrison in his Old Corner Drug Store.
The Need For Something New
While working at the drug store the doctor noticed that customers at the store’s soda fountain were becoming tired of the same drink flavors being offered. Dr. Alderton decided to do some experimenting and hoped to come up with a new and original concoction that was pleasing.
Alderton mixed together different fruit extracts and syrups and did the tasting himself. After putting together many different mixtures over a period of time he finally found one that stood out from the rest and pleased his taste buds. The store’s owner, Morrison, was invited to taste the soda and likewise found it quite good. The real proof however was when the drug store started selling the new soda to it’s customers and the reaction was extremely positive. The new soda drink caught on fast with the locals and gained new drinkers every day.
Customers began asking for “Doc Alderton’s drink.” when they visited the drug store. Eventually Morrison came up with the name for it, naming it “Dr. Pepper“, after the father of a girl he had once courted. Over 125 years later this soft drink remains one of the country’s most popular and it’s contents are pretty much the same as originally created by Doc Charles Alderton.
A Unique Museum Visit
The Dr. Pepper Museum, one of the best Waco attractions, occupies three floors of the old 1906 Artesian Manufacturing and Bottling Company.building. The building was donated to a non-profit organization in t988 and work began for renovation in 1990.
According to the Dr. Pepper Museum, the museum is home to the W. W. Clements Free Enterprise Institute. The Institute was created in 1997 for the purpose of educating school children as well as adults about the economic system that underlies American life. Another important thing to note per the museum is that the Dr. Pepper Museum has received contributions from Dr Pepper Snapple Group, the Coca Cola Company, Coca Cola Enterprises, Big Red Corporation, and several independent soft drink bottlers.
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The first floor of the Dr. Pepper Museum has a gift shop and a cute room with a soda fountain along with tables and chairs. It’s the perfect place to sit down and enjoy a cold Dr. Pepper. Memorabilia is found throughout the museum. Clocks, thermometers, signs, all with the Dr. Pepper name are on display and span many years. Also see the well which of course was essential for washing bottles in the bottling plant. You’ll also view interesting bottling machinery from the day along with descriptions of each.
A favorite of many visitors is a touch button TV screen showing some of the most popular Dr. Pepper television commercials spanning decades. You’ll also view many photos taken as far back as when the soda was developed. Also, interesting early photos of Waco are in their collection.
The Dr. Pepper Museum makes a perfect side trip for the entire family while traveling through Texas. The museum is easily reached being just a few blocks west of Interstate 35 south of the Brazos River.
(Article and photos copyright Trips Into History)