MOCK ORANGE WATER COMPANY

(A personal obsession)

Mock Orange Water Company

1925

In my research of different topics over the years, I would continue to see these ads for the Mock Orange Water Company.  I spent hours trying to locate an address for the company, but one was never published as far as I can tell.  This company became  an obsession to me. Typically the ads were more simple than the one above, but included a phone number.   Finally, looking through my maps from 1933, I discovered the exact location of the plant!   To this day I havent found out any more about the company other than what you see here.  I've been told however that the hillside was always wet right up through the 50s and possibly even today.






Mock Orange Water Company

The map above and the image below show the location of the Mock Orange Water Company

Mock Orange Water Company








Mock Orange Charleston WV
1928


Notice in this ad (and others that I saw) it says "Orange Edgewood".  I have never determined exactly what that means.   Was there a part of Edgewood Called "Orange Edgewood" due to the Mock Orange trees?




LOOK AT THE TWO PHOTOS BELOW

Mock Orange Water Company

Mock Orange Water Company

Both photos show Park Ave and Vogel Drive.  Notice the circular image in the backyards of the houses.  I've been told that it's a swimming pool that was built in the 90s, by the owners of all this property on Vogel Drive.  It's also oddly located at the exact spot where the  Mock Orange Water Company got their water.  







HERE IS INFORMATION THAT I HAVE GATHERED THAT SEEMS TO PUT THE PUZZLE TOGETHER

Mock Orange Water

The above are the incorporators of the water company
during the Mock Orange Water Company period in 1922.









Mock Orange Water Co

I believe that the Mock Orange Water Company ended their service of bottled water around 1928 or 1929.  The ads for the Mock Orange product ends at that time frame.  I also think that the water facility shown on the maps was too large to have been built in less than one year. (the time frame of the two companies)  They then decided to start their own water system for the area, as they had an abundant supply of water that was much cleaner than anything coming out of the Elk River.  The notice above shows their plans for supplying water to the surrounding area in 1929.

Mock Orange Water

The above purchased the water company in 1929. and then dissolved it by 1931.
The reason?  They also purchased the entire WV water  company system at that time
and didnt need the competition from this little water company nipping at their heels.

Mock Orange Water Co

But by 1931, the Edgewood Water Company was dissolved.  As you see below, West Virginia Water Co took it over for nothing,  possibly due to outstanding debt and thereby incurring that debt for the sale.


Mock Orange Water Co





BUT THEN, THERE'S THIS.....


Edgewood Spring Water

This photo circa 1907 is possibly another part of the puzzle.  Was this the precursor to the Mock Orange Bottling Plant?  How many commercially Springs could there have been up on the hill that could supply the amount of water necessary for a business?  I personally think just one.  The Edgewood Spring Water Company does not appear in any newspaper archives that I can find,  but that doesnt mean there's not an ad or article somewhere.


So here's my opinion:

1... The Spring started out as the Edgewood Spring Water Co. in the late 1800s or so.

2... The Mock Orange Water Co. used the Spring from the 20s to around 1929.

3... The Edgewood Water Company was then formed to supply water by pipe to the area from that spring, but quickly failed.  The property was sold and houses built on the land








Mock Orange Water Company

The largest Osage orange tree is located at River Farm, in Alexandria, Virginia, and is believed to have been a gift from Thomas Jefferson. Two other historic trees can be located on the grounds of Fort Harrod, in Harrodsburg, Kentucky, and the American Horticultural Society’s River Farm in Alexandria, Virginia.

The fruit is not poisonous and humans can generally eat it without ill effects, but it is considered inedible due to the texture and taste, which has been described as chemical-like. Exposure to frost improves the flavor, which becomes cucumber-like.

Native American tribes for bow-making. The wood was highly prized for this purpose, and natives were known to travel hundreds of miles to acquire it.


The earliest account of the tree in the English language was given by William Dunbar, a Scottish explorer, in his narrative of a journey made in 1804 from St. Catherine's Landing on the Mississippi River to the Ouachita River. It was a curiosity when Meriwether Lewis sent some slips and cuttings to President Jefferson in March 1804. According to Lewis's letter, the samples were donated by "Mr. Peter Choteau, who resided the greater portion of his time for many years with the Osage Nation," they didn't take, but later the thorny Osage orange tree was widely naturalized throughout the U.S.

The Osage orange is commonly used as a tree row windbreak in prairie states, which gives it one of its colloquial names, "hedge apple". It was one of the primary trees used in President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's "Great Plains Shelterbelt" WPA project, which was launched in 1934 as an ambitious plan to modify weather and prevent soil erosion in the Great Plains states. The heavy, close-grained yellow-orange wood is very dense and is prized for tool handles, treenails, fence posts, and other applications requiring a strong dimensionally stable wood that withstands rot.




AND WHAT ABOUT ORANGE STREET?

The largest Osage orange tree is located at River Farm, in Alexandria, Virginia, and is believed to have been a gift from Thomas Jefferson. Two other historic trees can be located on the grounds of Fort Harrod, in Harrodsburg, Kentucky, and the American Horticultural Society’s River Farm in Alexandria, Virginia.


Orange Street was West of Park Drive  (Now Somerset Drive)  and was later connected to Beech Ave to become Beech all the way through.  So lets refresh:  We have a water company straight up the hill called the Mock Orange Water Company, and we have a street named Orange Street.  It's obvious that the entire hill was covered here and there in Mock Orange trees.  Were they part of the history mentioned above,  or did they grow there naturally?  An ad for P.E. Embler, who had worked for Charleston Cut Flower in 1924 and left to start his own landscaping business, mentions the Mock Orange as one of the plants he'd sell and plant for 75 cents.  Did he plant the trees?  Maybe some, but most were already there it seems.  I doubt if anyone knows today.  But it's obvious the the thorny Mock Orange played an interesting part of history in this part of Charleston, and I cant recall ever seeing it anywhere else in town.



The largest Osage orange tree is located at River Farm, in Alexandria, Virginia, and is believed to have been a gift from Thomas Jefferson. Two other historic trees can be located on the grounds of Fort Harrod, in Harrodsburg, Kentucky, and the American Horticultural Society’s River Farm in Alexandria, Virginia.

Mock Orange Water Co



Bottled water obviously is nothing new.  Here in Charleston, the water company was often suffering from high bacteria count or other issues where very dirty water would often arrive at your tap.  Those that could afford it bought bottled water, and Mock Orange had to be one of the first bottled waters, and very popular in it's day. It was in business under that name from approximately 1921 to the early 1930s.



Mock Orange

1927


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