A handful of artifacts were unearthed during the demolition phase of Julie Hall. It is pretty incredible that these relics stood the test of time. We did some digging around of our own and discovered the following:
This hand-blown, cobalt blue glass bottle stored Bromo-Seltzer, a popular pharmaceutical drug manufactured by Emerson Drug Company in Baltimore, Maryland. Isaac Edward Emerson patented the formula for Bromo-Seltzer soon after he graduated from the University of North Carolina as a chemist in 1879. This concoction was sold in the form of a powder and was promoted as a remedy for headaches, upset stomach and jumpy nerves. The exact formula varied somewhat, with the main ingredient being sodium bromide. Bromides are a class of tranquilizers that were withdrawn from the American market in 1975 due to their toxicity.
Two marmalade jars, dating back to 1862, were also found on the site. According to the story, in 1700, Dundee Scotland grocer James Keiller bought bushels full of Seville oranges from a large cargo ship seeking refuge during a winter storm. Unfortunately, James discovered the Seville oranges were too bitter for most people’s tastes.
His wife, Janet, however, was able to create a simple recipe for preserves utilizing sugar and thick chucks of Seville orange rind. It was an instant hit; eventually ensuring a regular stop for Spanish ships full of Seville oranges. In 1797, another generation of Keillers built a marmalade factory, and a British staple was born. James Keiller & Sons Dundee Marmalade is still available in stores and online today.
The bottle pictured here, embossed with PURE OLIVE OIL / S. S. P., was blown in a cup base mold with air venting. Though unusually shaped, bottles like this were relatively common at the time. They came in several sizes and were used by the S. S. Pierce Company, a large import operation which originated in the Boston Harbor. Over time, Samuel S. Pierce became a well-known grocer with a reputation of specializing in imported goods from all over the world. Between 1880-1920 he opened shops in Copley Square and Coolidge Corner.
The last item uncovered was this small, clear glass medicinal bottle which has the image of a mortar and pestle embossed on it, along with the words, Geo. C. Frye, Portland, ME. George C. Frye was a fairly well-known wholesale and retail pharmacist around the 1890s to early 1900s. He lived in Portland, Maine. It is difficult to know which medicine was sold in this particular bottle since, at the time, these were used to store anything from fish oil to cough syrup.