The Shoshone Coca-Cola Bottling Company was a commercial enterprise doubling as entertainment destination. On any given day, a row of children could be found standing transfixed outside the large windows on the building’s south side. There, Karl Breckenridge remembers “watching the parade of green-hued clear bottles down the conveyer line. They marched like sparkling soldiers in lockstep from west to east, or left to our right, being squirted four-at-a-time full of Coca-Cola, to then disappear from view just as another machine capped them—poetry in motion.” Occasionally a young spectator would be rewarded with a free Coke, courtesy of a kindly attendant.
Brothers Les and Stanley Farr, along with Leslie’s son, Curtis, ran the operation from the mid-1920s through 1970, but the Shoshone Soda Works was already a successful soda manufacturer when it won the exclusive western Nevada franchise for bottling Coca-Cola in 1929. The company benefited from its own water supply, Diamond Springs water, a business dating back to 1903, when Reno did not have a reliable municipal drinking water system. Sensing an eager market, founder George Pettigrew, the area’s best-known artesian well borer, had marketed and distributed Diamond Pure water from his own well on Reno’s south side.
By 1919 the Daudels had bought Pettigrew’s water company and began to manufacture soda water and ginger ale at their Daudel Bottling Works, located on this site. In 1924, Leslie O. Farr bought the whole operation, which included a service station and small grocery in a small wood frame building. The company sold Eagle Punch and Bluebird soda, among other brands, distributing them regionally. In the early years, Les used a foot-operated pedal to fill the bottles, while Curtis recalled helping his father by hand washing 25 to 30 cases of bottles every weekend.
The original brick building, now the southwest wing, was constructed in 1927. That portion continued to house offices while the later one-story additions, built in 1939 and 1941, were dedicated to the bottling operations, warehousing, and shipping.
Stanley Farr sold his interest to Les when he retired in 1957, and Les and Curtis ran the company until 1970 when they sold it to a Texas bottling firm. After the Coca-Cola operation moved to Vassar Street in 1972, the building became the home of Resco Restaurant Equipment & Supply Company. Junkee Clothing Exchange opened there in 2008.