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Aug 12

McKinley bitters bottle

Bitters bottle, a gift from President William McKinley.

Apparently even Presidents had to be careful about being seen with a drink in their hand. This story by Pat Keeble from August 13, 1958 talks about an artifact of President William McKinley's visit to San Luis Obispo.
As we saw in the previous post, bitters were a clever marketing tool for alcohol manufacturers to sell their product under another name.
Mrs. Athelma Lamb of San Miguel collected a silver inlaid whiskey or bitters bottle that sat at the table when the President was in town.
William McKinley spent an hour at San Luis Obispo's Ramona Hotel, while on a tour of the coast by train in 1901. Mrs. Lamb was 4 years old when the train went through her hometown of Bradley.
En rout to San Francisco the president fell ill with a digestive disorder. The conductor, Fred T. Crain concocted a soda mix that made the president feel better. The grateful President gave Crain a silver inlaid bitters bottle and a thank you card.
Lamb later collected the bottle from the family who held it.

Related posts:

  1. Don't wait until disease has fastened its fangs upon you
  2. 1901 McKinley Train