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13 Nov 2021, last revised 11 Jul 2022

Richard Hooper was a soda/mineral water bottler in Houghton for about ten years. For most of this period, mostly in the early 1900s, he was the only bottler operating in Houghton.

Richard T. Hooper was born on 13 Oct 1870 in Houghton (1). His father was born in England and his mother was born in Michigan (2). He worked for Matt Northey for a number of years, and then in Jan 1899, he purchased Northey's bottling works (15). He was then listed as a soda water manufacturer in the 1899 Polk directory (4). The location was described as on the east side of Dodge St., two addresses (or units) south of Montezuma Ave. (4). This was the same location used to describe Matthew Northey's bottling works in the 1897 directory (3). The Sanborn map shows that they operated in the old Hahn brewery, which was purchased by A. Haas Brewing Co. (5). It is unknown how long Haas owned the building, but it was labeled as the former Haas Brewery on the 1888 Sanborn map. The building burned in Mar 1903 at a loss of $25,000 (6). Hooper's bottling works then moved to 87 Dodge St. by 1905 (7), however the Sanborn map labeled an adjacent building on Montezuma Ave. as the bottling works.

Sanborn map - Jun 1900
Sanborn map - Jun 1900
Sanborn map - Feb 1908
Sanborn map - Feb 1908

The 1905 and 1907 directories listed Richard Hooper as proprietor of Houghton Mineral Water Bottling Works (7,8). He had one bottle (#32) embossed with this name and his initials on the base. Since the Polk directories rarely published company names, especially in earlier volumes, it is unknown if Hooper used this name from the beginning or if he established it later. Michigan labor inspections recorded a Houghton Bottling Works with five employees in 1904 and 1906 (13,14). Despite the slight difference in name, this was probably Hooper's business. Matt Northey also used this name, but his business was last listed in 1897 and then he died in 1905. Cochran's bottling works later used this name, but apparently only after he sold it in 1922. Plus, Cochran was in Baraga until 1908. An ad from the 1903 directory specified that Cochran bottled more than just mineral water (11).

Newspaper ad - The Daily Mining Gazette, 18 Sep 1899
Newspaper ad - Sep 1899
Polk directory ad - Michigan State Gazetteer and Business Directory for 1903-1904
Polk directory ad - 1903

Hooper was listed as a mineral water manufacturer in the 1909 directory (9), and then the 1910 directory noted that he had moved to Oakland, CA (10). Thus, his business started in 1898 or 1899 and ended in 1909 or 1910. It is unknown what happened to Hooper in California.

References

  1. Michigan, U.S., Births and Christenings Index, 1867-1911 (accessed on ancestry.com).
  2. U.S. Census Bureau. 1900 United States Federal Census. accessed on ancestry.com.
  3. R. L. Polk & Co. 1897. Houghton County Directory 1897-98. R. L. Polk & Co., Publishers. Detroit, MI.
  4. R. L. Polk & Co. 1899. Houghton County Directory 1899-1900. R. L. Polk & Co., Publishers. Detroit, MI.
  5. anonymous. 1883. History of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The Western Historical Company. Chicago, IL.
  6. anonymous. (1903, Mar 14). Peninsula News. The L'Anse Sentinel (L'Anse, MI). p. 1.
  7. R. L. Polk & Co. 1905. Houghton County Directory 1905-06. R. L. Polk & Co., Publishers. Detroit, MI.
  8. R. L. Polk & Co. 1907. Houghton County Directory 1907-08. R. L. Polk & Co., Publishers. Detroit, MI.
  9. R. L. Polk & Co. 1909. Michigan State Gazetteer and Business Directory for 1909. R. L. Polk & Co. Detroit, MI.
  10. R. L. Polk & Co. 1910. 1910 Calumet, Houghton, Hancock and Laurium Directory. R. L. Polk & Co., Publishers. Detroit, MI.
  11. R. L. Polk & Co. 1903. Michigan State Gazetteer and Business Directory for 1903-1904. R. L. Polk & Co. Detroit, MI.
  12. anonymous. (1908, May 23). Will Remove to Houghton. The L'Anse Sentinel (L'Anse, MI). p. 5.
  13. Bureau of Labor and Industrial Statistics. 1905. State of Michigan Twenty-Second Annual Report of the Bureau of Labor and Industrial Statistics Including the Twelfth Annual Report of State Inspection of Factories. Wynkoop Hallenbeck Crawford Co., State Printers. Lansing, MI.
  14. Bureau of Labor and Industrial Statistics. 1907. State of Michigan Twenty-Fourth Annual Report of the Bureau of Labor and Industrial Statistics Including the Fourteenth Annual Report of State Inspection of Factories. Wynkoop Hallenbeck Crawford Co., State Printers. Lansing, MI.
  15. anonymous. (1899, Jan 14). Portage Lake News. The Copper Country Evening News (Calumet, MI). p. 3.

30
Richard Hooper bottle
capacity: half-pint
color: aqua
top: Hutchinson top - tooled
maker's mark: N. B. B. G. CO. (back heel)
other marks: THIS BOTTLE IS NEVER SOLD (lower back)
date: c.1900
rarity: rare
30a
Richard Hooper bottle
maker's mark: S. B. & G. CO. (back heel)
other marks: THIS BOTTLE IS NEVER SOLD (lower back)
date: early 1900s
rarity: scarce
  • different plate from 30
  • smaller font
  • wider space between HOUGHTON and MICH.
  • plate lower on mold
30b
Richard Hooper bottle
maker's mark: W. F. & S. MIL. (back heel)
other marks: R. H. (base)
date: early 1900s
rarity: scarce
  • different plate from 30 and 30a
  • R in RICHARD slightly in front of HOUGHTON
  • "," after HOUGHTON
  • plate lower on mold like 30a

s76
Richard Hooper bottle
capacity: half-pint
color: aqua
top: Hutchinson top - tooled
maker's mark: (none)
other marks: (none)
date: early 1900s
rarity: rare
  • smaller plate
  • HOUGHTON between R and R of RICHARD HOOPER

31
Richard Hooper bottle
capacity: half-pint
color: aqua
top: Hutchinson top - tooled
maker's mark: I. G. CO. (back heel)
other marks: (none)
date: c.1900
rarity: rare
  • tombstone-shaped plate
  • mug-style base

32
Houghton Mineral Water Bottling Works bottle
capacity: half-pint
color: colorless
top: Hutchinson top - tooled
maker's mark: (none)
other marks: R T H (base)
date: c.1905
rarity: rare
  • initials on base connects Richard Hooper to company name

33
Richard Hooper bottle
capacity: quart
color: aqua
top: crown top - tooled
maker's mark: N. B. B. G. CO. (back heel)
other marks: (none)
date: 1905-1910
rarity: scarce
  • similar plate design to 30
  • "," after HOUGHTON
33a
Richard Hooper bottle
maker's mark: S B & G Co (base)
other marks: (none)
rarity: scarce
  • different plate from 33
  • smaller font
  • no "," after HOUGHTON
  • wider space between HOUGHTON and MICH.
  • plate higher on mold
33b
Richard Hooper bottle
maker's mark: (none)
other marks: R. H. (base)
rarity: rare
  • different plate from 33 and 33a
  • larger font
  • "," after HOUGHTON
  • plate higher on mold than 33
  • this variant was pictured in book with the "," unpainted
  • this variant was not listed in book

34
Richard Hooper bottle
capacity: half-pint
color: aqua
top: crown top - tooled
maker's mark: N. B. B. G. CO. (back heel)
other marks: (none)
date: 1905-1910
rarity: scarce
  • half-pint-sized complement to previous
  • different plate from 30
  • T in HOUGHTON under second O in HOOPER

166
Richard Hooper bottle
capacity: quart
color: colorless
top: siphon top
maker's mark: (none)
other marks: (none)
date: 1905-1910
rarity: extremely rare