Jack’s Journal: Bottle Cap Museum

It has been a fixture in downtown Grayling since the 1930’s.

It started as a drug store with a lunch counter.  Today, Dawson and Steven’s is a place to enjoy good food and the Bottle Cap Museum! 

Years ago, I featured the museum when it was owned by Bill Hicks of Gaylord. The collection totaled 10,000 Coca-Cola items.  But Bill decided it was time to sell.

“But I always knew this belonged in a restaurant or downtown store where it would be more accessible,” says Bill Hicks.

So how did the museum end up here? Well, current owner Bill Gannon was having a lousy day and went for a drive and stopped at the museum in hopes to buy a few items for his new 50’s diner. After a private tour, Mr. Gannon was ready to leave.

“I got to the door and I said, ‘can I buy those coke bottles before I leave?’ And he looked at me right in the eye and said, ‘I’m gonna do ya one better.’  I said ‘what’s that?’ He says ‘I’m going to sell the entire museum to you!’  And I said, ‘that’s not exactly what I had in mind!’” says Bill Gannon.

Well a dozen years later the two are now fast friends.  Owner Bill didn’t realize collector Bill came with the collection.  But when Bill Hicks is in attendance the stories fly.

It is a Coca-Cola fan’s dream. All eras are accounted for. Lots of fun things to look at and talk about.  But above and beyond the collection the refurbishing of this old building is not just about good food and a fun collection, it’s about memories from the past and memories yet to be made.

Bill tells this story from their opening about a granddaughter with her grandpa, it reassured him that he was investing in a good thing.

“I heard the little girl say, ‘I wanna sit at the counter’ and I heard the older man say, ‘no, we are going to sit over here’. And she says, ‘whys that?’ and he says, ‘because your grandpa kissed your grandma for the first time sitting right here in this booth and that’s where I wanna be’.” 

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