After years of curiosity and research, local historian Marvin Gorley’s labor came to fruition with the publication of his new book, “Soda Pop — Paris, Texas.”
Gorley hosted a book signing event Saturday at the Valley of the Caddo Museum & Cultural Center, inviting community members to purchase his book and get a signature to boot.
“It’s a relief,” Gorley said of finally publishing the book. “I’ve been working on this a long time and I’m really excited that people are going to get to learn the same things I learned.”
A history buff, Gorley started collecting antique soda bottles from Paris when he saw they were available on eBay. What started as a hobby grew into a firm passion and Gorley said as he began to learn more about the history of soda in Paris, he wanted others to be able to access the information.
“I began to collect the bottles and I said, ‘Well, you know, I hate to gather all this information and not share it,’” Gorley said. “So that’s when I decided to put it in the book.”
It’s rumored that the first Coca-Cola ever sold in Texas was in Paris, Gorley said, where there’s also a long history of soda bottling and production. He said he not only learned more about Paris’ past through the book, but made connections with others in the community. Larry Bratcher, of Blossom, also collects bottles and Gorley said by partnering with him, he was able to put together a vast number of images for the book.
“Making new friends and getting to learn from each other, it just makes it very rewarding,” he said.
Gorley’s book is available for sale at Bee Sweet Paris in downtown Paris, 17th 2nd St NE, and he said he’s also hoping to distribute copies to the Valley of the Caddo Museum & Cultural Center as well as the Lamar County Genealogy Society Library.