by Michael D. Wynne
A building made almost totally of bottles! This is not unique in the world, but Alexandria is privileged with having one of these truly unique structures. It’s own history maybe a bit surprising though. And it still exists, though partially hidden, at 1128 Bolton Avenue.
RoadsideArchitecture.com says that Drew Bridges used bottles from his Bolton Avenue drug store to build the Bottle House (BH). Friends also contributed wine bottles to its construction. There are about 3,000 bottles used as masonry units with railroad ties used as the framing structure.
On April 1, 1947 is the first mention of the Bottle House (BH). It appears as a brief mention when the board of directors and chairmen of the downtown Alexandria Rotary Club were scheduled to meet in “Drew N. Bridges’ Bottle House.” Other mentions are as follows:
November 5, 1947- The first known advertisement for the BH appears in the Town Talk:
See The Distinctive Gifts At The
Bottle House Gift Shop
Entrance 1128 Bolton Avenue and 1703 Polk Street
December 3, 1947 ad noted, “California Pottery, Snow Men For Decoration” were available. Other ads in December of 1947 followed indicating many other gifts were available including: “Distinctive Brass,” “Christmas Cards To Best Express Your Good Wishes,” and “Viking Glass and other distinctive gifts.”
Apparently, the BH Gift Shop didn’t do so well. Beginning on March 9, 1949, an “All Merchandise Half Price Sale” was featured in ads until the last ad for the store appeared on March 21, 1949. No further advertisements appeared for the store.
On September 1, 1954 an article appeared entitled, “Visitors In Alexandria,” The article said that Mr. and Mrs. Frank T. (Lillian) Lewis Jr. and their daughter Ann of Hattiesburg, Mississippi were visiting Mrs. Lewis’ parents, Mr. and Mrs. Drew N. Bridges of Alexandria, at their family home on Polk Street. There is a nice photograph taken inside of the BH showing Mrs. Lewis and young Ann.
In the April 3, 1977 edition, the Historical Association for Central Louisiana (HACL) hosted a tour of homes in the area of the BH. The article noted that the BH would be on the walking tour and “mint juleps” would be served there.
The Bottle House would appear on a couple more tours of home in the last decade. It is now one of the great treasures of Central Louisiana!