Watercolor… Quakertown Trolley Barn, South Elevation. This “Coca Cola” advertisement has been painted on the rear, south brick wall of the former Quakertown Traction Company (QTC) Trolley Barn and Powerhouse, for as long as I can remember. This trolley maintenance barn and power generating station was constructed in 1897, with strong evidence that Lansdale architect, Milton Bean influenced the design. The QTC was absorbed by Lehigh Valley Transit (LVT) in the early 1900’s… and about thirty years later, the structure was abandoned to the interests of the commercial, retail markets. The Coca Cola Company was founded in the late 1880’s. I don’t know when this hand painted advertisement was created… but it has been fading slowly, toward eventual oblivion over these many years. I decided I better paint it before it’s completely gone. The ad is oriented to catch the attention of riders on northbound Philadelphia & Reading Railroad (RDG) passenger trains, when that service existed between Philadelphia and Bethlehem. This color sketch is intended as my sparse imagining of the site and building, as it may have appeared after the south rail yard and coaling spur, feeding the generators, were pulled up and replaced with a parking lot. The trolley barn came under new ownership in 2017, to be developed and repurposed as a public market hub, with eateries and a micro brewery. I hope this historic collection of “Coke” slogans will be stabilized and preserved as an example of early Twentieth Century, American Advertising.
Update 2021… alas… this old, historic, hand painted “Coca Cola” script… has been power washed away. It is forever gone and replaced by a generic sign that reads “Trolley Barn Public Market”. Fortunately, the building itself has been stabilized, preserved and given an extended life span.