Sunday, June 1, 2014



Harry L. Hoover can remember "way back when” in the soft drink business, as he can recall bottling the old-time soda pop before the turn of the century. That early product and the methods employed are a long way removed from his present modern plant in Bowling Green.

Harry L. Hoover was born in Owensboro, Daviess County, Kentucky, in the year 1886. His youth was spent in Beaver Dam and Hartford, and it was there that he attended school. Later he went to work with his father and brothers in a bottling business they were starting up in Hartford.

In 1913, Harry Hoover decided to trek west, and took his young wife to California. They lived there for one year, then returned to the home state. Mr. Hoover’s first business venture on his own was in Central City, Kentucky, where he opened a bottling plant handling a line of fruit-flavored drinks and also a cola beverage. In 1926 the Nehi Company introduced their "large bottle” and Mr. Hoover obtained territorial rights for their products and began bottling the Nehi fruit beverages. One particularly popular Nehi product was their cola drink known as Nehi Cola, but later renamed and now nationally known as Royal Crown Cola. The connection with the Nehi Company proved profitable for Mr. Hoover, and in 1931 he took over the Nehi Bottling Company in Bowling Green and decided to establish his home and business headquarters in this city. Harry Hoover still retains his plant in Central City, but does all his bottling in Bowling Green, serving the Central City territory from a warehouse there.

Harry L. Hoover owes his early experience in the bottling business to his father, Robert Hoover. For many years Robert Hoover was in the grocery business, both in Hartford and Beaver Dam. About 1909, together with his six sons, he became interested in establishing a bottling business in Hartford, and there they worked together, bottling what was known as fruit-flavored soda pop. The father and two of the sons, J. R. and Karl C., are still in the business at Hartford, but they now have a highly modern plant, and like Harry L. Hoover they are handling Nehi products. Harry L. Hoover’s mother, Laura B. Cummings) Hoover, was, like his father, a native of Ohio County.

Harry L. Hoover was married in 1911 to Elizabeth M. Collins, a native of Hartford and the daughter of Bolivar Buckner Collins and Mary (Rial) Collins, both of whom were born, reared and died in Hartford. The Harry L. Hoovers have a fine farm in Warren County, and there they live all summer. Recently they purchased one of Bowling Green’s beautiful old homes. They are members of the Presbyterian Church.

Mr. Hoover served as a member of the city council in Central City and when he lived there was also an active member of Central City Rotary Club. Today Mr. Hoover is a busy man, with his interests revolving around his business, his home and his farm. However, he is never too busy to give time or financial assistance where any movement for the public good is concerned. The steady growth of his business is evidence of his initiative and his ability, and the widespread circle of his steadfast friends, both in Bowling Green and Central City, bears testimony to his likeable personality and friendly ways.

Source: A Sesqui-Centennial History of Kentucky; by Frederick A. Wallis. Published 1945.

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