Matthews Heritage Museum, 232 North Trade Street, Matthews, is housed in the 1879 Massey-Clark House, one of the oldest buildings in Downtown Matthews. The museum offers a glimpse into the past, and a close look at historic artifacts and long-gone ways of life.
Admission is just $4 for adults and $2 for ages 11-17. Kids 10 and under are free. The museum is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Matthews Heritage Museum offers free admission the first Saturday of every month.
Reservations are recommended.
Pepsi: Born in the Carolinas
Many people know that Caleb Bradham a pharmacist in New Bern invented Brad’s Drink in the late 1880s, later to be known as Pepsi-Cola. His aim was to create a drink that was delicious and healthful, aiding digestion and boosting energy. He was confident his drink would be a taste-good, cure-all for modern ailments.
The Matthews Heritage Museum will have on display an exhibit on Pepsi: Born in the Carolinas from July 9 to November 19, 2022.
In 1905, as the drink’s popularity grew, Charlotte was one of the first two franchises of the new company. Thus began Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company of Charlotte, Inc. Henry Barksdale Fowler, who was to become known to his employees as “Mr. Pepsi-Cola,” bought the first Pepsi franchise from the drink’s inventor Caleb Bradham and began doing business in a barn beside the city’s blacksmith shop on East Trade Street, near the railroad tracks.
Over time Charlotte’s franchise grew and because of Fowler’s forward-thinking management style, the parent company often introduced new items in the Charlotte market. The Pepsi swirl bottle, which was Fowler’s idea, was test marketed in Charlotte. By the early 1950s, more than 60 delivery trucks rolled out of the South Boulevard plant every day.
Fowler ran the business more than 65 years. Fowler was the only franchisee to continuously bottle and distribute Pepsi while hundreds of others were abandoning the national soft-drink company. The company was later led by Dale Halton, Henry’s granddaughter who became President in 1981. Under her leadership she exponentially grew the business. Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company of Charlotte employs 350 workers and has an annual sales volume of 15 million cases or $74 million. Halton’s success was recognized in 1988 when she was named “Charlotte Business Woman of the Year.”
The exhibit not only shares the history of Pepsi-Cola in Charlotte, but displays Pepsi memorabilia from the company.
About Matthews Heritage Museum
Matthews Heritage Museum has shared the descriptions of these exhibits.
Children and adults will enjoy exploring the Lifestyles Gallery, imagining a time before electricity and running water. Schools were a vital part of the community. Porches were the center of living, particularly in the summer in an effort to stay cool. Learn what was different in the kitchen at the turn of the century.
The Community Gallery allows you to discover the many activities that happened at the local drug store. You can also investigate the early set up of the doctor’s office or hear wonderful stories about the local pool. A display of Outen Pottery, hand thrown pots made from local clay, is of great interest.
Snippets from the Matthews Remembered and Outen Pottery DVD play for the audience in the Lifestyles and Community Galleries. The hallway panels give visitors insight to early Matthews.
Early Commerce Gallery
Learn about King Cotton and the early days of the railroad. Imagine cashing a check at the Bank of Matthews, and see part of the original bank interior on display. Listen to telephone switchboard stories while looking at an old crank phone and switchboard.