Over at the Oregon State Hospital Museum project, archivists and historians found a cache of old beer bottles and cans! This can of Sick's Select comes from it. There's also an old bottle of Gambrinus from Portland. At some point we hope to get a list the find!
Meanwhile, over in Rickreall, there's a large number of old beer bottles and coasters already on display. The collection is kinda tucked away, but it's there - so go check it out!
It turns out that back in January 2008, Capi Lynn wrote in the Statesman about it. Worth Mathewson had lent or donated a chunk of his collection of bottles, labels, mugs, and other breweriana to the Polk County Historical Society.
Lynn's focus was less on what the existing artifacts tell us, and more about them as collectibles and the missing "holy grail."
There are no bottles representing the earliest known breweries, from around 1870 to 1900.(Like these perhaps?)
"We had three breweries in Salem, and nothing’s been found," Mathewson said. "It’s a mystery."
Nothing from breweries owned by Samuel Adolph, Louis Westacott, or Maurice Klinger and Seraphin Beck.
"There’s a bunch of us looking out there," Coburn Grabenhorst Jr. of Salem said. "Like Worth, we wonder why there’s not more out there."
Grabenhorst said he heard a couple of Adolph bottles were found intact 15 to 20 years ago under a downtown sidewalk and each fetched about $8,000.
Lynn continues Grabenhorst's thought:
If a bottle were discovered today, he figures, it would be worth at least that.Here's Dale Mlasko on finding these Adolph flasks. Mlasko got them from the Adolph family, not from under a sidewalk, so these aren't the exact same ones. And perhaps these flasks for whiskey are distinct from beer bottles Adolph might have had made at the same time. Still, they're still a great connection to old Salem!
Mathewson refers to such a find as the Holy Grail of Northwest breweriana.
At some point maybe we can get some photos and a more detailed list of the Mathewson/PCHS collection. If any CT correspondent should visit, send us your report!