The Schmidt Museum of Coca-Cola Memorabilia, 2009.

A new museum and warehouse facility was built specifically for the collection and opened to the public in 2005. Sadly, Bill passed away only two years later. In 2011 the museum closed its doors. and the divestiture of the museum holdings at auction signaled the end of a collecting era.

 

I first met Bill and Jan Schmidt in the summer of 1989 when we first toured the museum at the bottling plant. Through the years my wife and I, and our two children, visited the museum many, many times. Over that time we became acquainted with  Mr. and Mrs. Schmidt, and Roy Minagawa - the museum's curator. Bill, Jan, Roy, and the entire museum staff, always treated us with a great deal of courtesy and respect. I will always treasure the fond memories of those visits and friendships.

Bill and his wife Jan represented the third generation of Schmidt Coca-Cola Bottlers. The Schmidts were a Coca-Cola family. Bill's grandfather Fred Schmidt began bottling in Louisville in 1901, and his father Luke Schmidt acquired the Elizabethtown territory in 1920 and 35 years later his son Bill assumed control.

 

Bill and Jan began collecting seriously in 1972, and soon had enough memorabilia to fill a warehouse. They opened their first museum on the second floor of the bottling plant in 1977. It entertained over one million visitors during its 25 year existence, before it was eventually moved to its final  destination.

Schmidt Museum of Cocca-Cola

This photo was taken in September 2006 when we loaned a Pemberton's French Wine Coca bottle to the museum. Sadly, Mr. Schmidt passed away less than a year later. (Shown left to right; me, Bill Schmidt, Roy Minagawa)

© 2011-2016  EarlyCoke.com.

This is a private collector's website that explores the unique history and memorabilia of the Coca-Cola Company. The views and opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author.

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Coca-Cola Company. Coca-Cola and its affiliated logos are registered trademarks of the Coca-Cola Company.

 

EarlyCoke.com's mission is to provide information useful to the Coca-Cola collecting community and to provide an understanding of the history of the Coca-Cola Company. We do not recommend whether to but or sell particular Coca-Cola items, nor are we an auctioneer. Collectors should conduct their own independent research before making a decision to purchase or sell any antiques or collectibles. Under no circumstances will EarlyCoke.com be liable for any claims or losses related to the purchasing or selling of antiques or collectibles.