Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Soda Pop Comes to Oakdale

Open for business! The small building to the right is the factory and offices while the building on the left is the warehouse.
Thirsty Oakdale citizens can now rejoice as the A. W. Moulton Soda Works is now open for business! In small town throughout the country during the nineteenth century, soda manufacturing was as ubiquitous as the brewery. Although the standard drink for men was beer or whiskey, the younger set, and the teetotalers, needed refreshment as well. The carbonation process was simple and many of these soda plants lasted into the 1930s until the competition from Coca Cola, Pepsi and other big manufacturers put them out of business.
Barrels of sulfuric acid and limestone as well as flats of finished pop are stored on the loading dock.
 The Moulton works lasted into the 1890s after which the building disappeared from maps, presumably from fire. The Oakdale Soda Works filled the vacuum shortly thereafter and lasted in the 20th century. While I had building dimensions from both railroad and insurance map sources, there were no photos available so the Moulton works is the right size but not necessarily the right appearance. The prototype was rail-served and provides opportunities for shipping in quantities of limestone, sulfuric acid (yes, those were was part of the process) and glass bottles. Cases of delicious soda, pop, or just coke, depending on what you want to call it, would be the outbound products.
Although the main part of the building faces the railroad spur, the building is at the end of a peninsula and can be seen from both sides. This would be the street side with a road that will eventually run in from of the factory.
The end of the building proclaims some of the products offered by Moulton. The
double doors open onto a small stable for the horse which pulls the delivery wagon
(yet to be built).
The building is constructed of styrene with Minuteman Scale Models shingles and rolled roofing. The lettering was printed on an Alps printer from my artwork. The barrels, bottle flats and bottles are from Preiser.


  1. Outstanding to see so many different establishments serving such varied products in one place. I was unaware that Oakdale had sparkling water springs. Looks like competition for our Manitou Springs Mineral Water and Ginger Ale there along the foothills of the Sierra Nevada.

  2. Hi,

    Lovely work! Great looking, and the history's really interesting. I'm also a model railroading enthusiast who write about the hobby. I don't know if you're looking for more content or are interested in publishing articles written bby other people, but if you are I'd be delighted to let you use some of mine (free of charge, of course).

    Warm regards,