A big trench has been dug around the periphery of the foundation of the buildings so they can seal it up. All that digging has uncovered a ton of broken clay bottles in the back of 206. I know in the late 1800’s 206 was a Tavern owned by John S. Riehl so finding bottles makes sense. Mia’s brother Christopher and his wife Jackie are really into archeological mysteries so I knew they would be good helpers in figuring these bottles out.
We dug around until we found pieces of bottles with intact seals on them.
Here is what I was able to find out on the Internets.
The bottles are ceramic with a little jug handle. We found 2 different seals on the bottles.
Googling the text from these seals led me to a site where people submit questions on old bottles. Luckily, someone else submitted a question on one of these bottles. Their answer was: “The bottle is a Mineral water bottle from Germany. The German word Brunnen translates as ‘well.’ ‘Victoria Brunnen’ is in Lahnstein. Germany.”
Doing a search on Lahnstein I found out there are 2 mineral springs there, the Minerva Brunnen and the Victoria Brunnen and in the late 1800’s/early 1900’s water was exported from them.
Check out this excerpt from this 1906 book The Rhine from Rotterdam to Constance: handbook for travellers.
Turns out, you can still buy mineral water from the Minerva and Victoria mineral springs today. The Google translation of the Lahnsteiner website says “A gift from the depths of nature: Precious, are light and the natural mineral water Lahnsteiner known and very popular throughout the country. For every taste there is a drink to that: In our sparkling Lahnsteiner premium mineral water, and the elegant British-Line beverages in an attractive bottle for gourmet restaurants or the Victoria and Minerva-mineral water with the various soft drinks delight young and old.”
I even found this poster from 1910.
An intact bottle shows up in The Rotterdam Museum. It also looks like these bottles pop up on Ebay from time to time.
So mineral water, huh? I was expecting something more like Gin in the backyard of a Philly tavern. Why would they serve imported mineral water? And why throw your mineral water bottles out back? I guess these things will remain a mystery.