Currently on display at the Western Hotel Museum are several bottles produced by Antelope Beverages - the Antelope Valley’s very own soda distributer (See Figure 1). Antelope Beverages produced several different types of soda throughout the 1940s-1950s and was a favorite among community members at the time.
It is unclear when exactly the company first started, but advertisements for the company have appeared in AV high school year books and newspapers from throughout the 1940s. On display at the Western Hotel Museum is an ad for the company from the Antelope Valley Ledger Gazette which was first founded in 1888 (Antelope Valley Ledger Gazette Blog, MOAH) (See Figure 2). This advertisement dates to March 13, 1944 and features an image advertising the sale of war bonds for WWII which would soon end in 1945. The advertisement also features two birds, one dressed in a soldier’s uniform who encourages the other to stop for a nice drink before their trip (See Figure 3). Flavors of Antelope Beverages included: lemon, root beer, grape, strawberry, crème soda, kola, lithiated lemon (a beverage treated with lithium which was thought to cure hangovers), sparkling water, ginger ale, orange, and cherry blossom. In addition, Antelope Beverages also had the franchise to bottle “Squirt.” Bottles of soda could be purchased, and then empty bottles would be returned to the company for re-filling which was customary through the 1950s.
Antelope Beverages products were manufactured and bottled in Lancaster by Antelope Valley Distributing Company (See Figure 4). Their office was located at 149 East Tenth Street, which is now known as Challenger Way. The phone number for the company was just two digits: “41” back when only a few folks and businesses had their own phone numbers in Lancaster. Though there are no direct references to the location of Antelope Valley Distributing Company on any historic topographic maps, at 149 East Tenth Street is now a trailer park which first appears on historic maps in 1958. It is likely that this trailer park was built on top of what was the Antelope Valley Distributing Company (See Figure 5).
Three Antelope Beverages bottles and the Antelope Valley Ledger Gazette advertisement are on display on the second floor of the Western Hotel Museum, near Myrtie Webber’s very own picnic box (See Figure 6). Be sure to stop by during the Western Hotel Museum’s new operating hours: every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 11AM- 4PM (Closed Holidays), located at 557 W Lancaster Blvd, Lancaster, CA 93534 (See Figure 7).
Figure 1: Three Antelope Beverages bottles on display at Western Hotel Museum
Figure 2: Antelope Valley Ledger Gazette Advertisement for Antelope Beverages
Figure 3: Birds Illustration on Antelope Valley Ledger Gazette Advertisement for Antelope Beverages
Figure 4: Front façade of Antelope Valley Distributing Co. (Norma Gurba-Kleit, Growing up in the Antelope Valley 60s, 70s, 80s Facebook page). Growing up in Antelope Valley 60' 70's 80's | ●● ANTELOPE BEVERAGES CO | Facebook.
Figure 5: 1958 Lancaster East Topographic Map with plotted location of 149 East Tenth Street
Figure 6: Display of Antelope Valley Beverage bottles, advertisement, other historic bottles, and Mertie Webber’s picnic box at Western Hotel Museum.
Figure 7: The Western Hotel Museum, photograph taken on 11/13/22.
Norma Gurba-Kleit, Antelope Valley Beverages Distributing Co. Store Front, from Growing up in the Antelope Valley 60s, 70s, 80s Facebook page: Growing up in Antelope Valley 60' 70's 80's | ●● ANTELOPE BEVERAGES CO | Facebook.