The Coca-Cola Bottling Company in 1934. (State Archives of Florida/Fisher)
Just north of downtown Jacksonville, Springfield rapidly became one of the city’s most popular destinations following the Great Fire. In the midst of the Florida Land Boom, the Telfair Stockton & Company began development on a new industrial park near the junction of Main Street, the Seaboard Air Line (SAL), Southern, and St. Johns River Terminal Company (SJRT) railroads.
In 1926, in need of additional space, the Jacksonville Coca-Cola Bottling Company constructed a three-story reinforced concrete bottling works in the heart of Stockton’s new industrial district, at the intersection of East 14th and North Market Streets. Here, syrup concentrate purchased from the Coca-Cola Company, was taken by the Jacksonville franchise and mixed with filtered water and sweeteners, and then carbonated before being bottled. Bottled products were then sold and distributed to local retail stores, vending machines, restaurants and food service distributors.
Filling bottles in 1948. (State Archives of Florida/Fisher)
During the company’s 41 years of operation in Springfield, it grew to consume adjacent properties along 14th Street. Immediately adjacent to the Coca-Cola building, the Mehlas Warehouses was completed in 1926. Some of its earliest tenants included the Loose-Wiles Biscuit Company (bakery), Michelin Tire Company, and Excelsior Mills Corporation (automobile upholstry). At its height, Coca-Cola expanded to utilize the Mehlas Warehouses for product storage.
The Mehlas Warehouses in 1926. Courtesy of the Telfair Stockton & Company industrial advertisement.
The Mehlas Warehouse complex today.