National Moxie Museum annex of Matthews Built in Two Months!

After many years of struggling for funding and other forms of support, the tireless effort of a few dedicated souls* finally resulted in tangible results. Pictured below are some happenings in 2008 and 2009 leading up to the realization of this dream. The National Moxie Museum (as an annex of the Matthews Museum in Union, ME) is now a reality and ready for YOU to visit!

(*Primarily George and Judy Gross who have been relentless in their dedication to this effort) 

Matthews Museum on HERE


Brother, can you spare a dime?

Continuing support is still needed! YOU can still "buy" your way into the Moxie legacy by "purchasing" a post ($1000), a beam ($500), or a board ($100) for the Museum and having your name permanently engraved (25 words or less) thereupon! (smaller donations also gratefully accepted)

Donations (and the wording you want on the inscription) can be sent to Matthews Museum, POB 582, Union ME 04862. Make checks out to "Matthews Museum-Moxie...contributions are tax deductible...again...THANX!!!

Scroll down this page for a picture history of the remarkable all-volunteer two month construction process, followed by a Village Soup local newspaper article about this project!


Moxie Day at the Union Fair in August fundraising effort before groundbreaking.  Maine US Senator Susan Collins offers support and enhances her wardrobe in the process!

Groundbreaking ceremonies for the new wing in September...Maine State Senator Christine Savage graciously wields the shovel for the Museum board.

Fall of 2008: George Gross and volunteer Bob Oxton begin excavation on the 40x40 plot, footprint of the new wing. 

Piers and footings emerge overlooking the rest of the Union Fairgrounds.

George Gross preparing for foundation pour in October. 

First week of May, 2009: Posts and beams being assembled onto the concrete pad cured over the winter.

More post-and-beam framework assembly.

A week later...walls taking shape.

Back side.

When you've got Barry, John, Bobby, and George...who needs roofers! 

Part of  construction "Trailer City" camped on site.

This is what we were going for...

3rd week in May...almost completely buttoned up.

Inside, Bob Ashburn, our resident cabinetmaker, was...what else...making cabinets.

Couldn't be done without all these guys: Tami Martinelli, Pat Orsi, Bob Ashburn, Bobby Burgess, Judy & George Gross (especially!).  

First week in June...roof finished and interior now "dry", ready for the Big Bottle.

10' circle and staging on the pedestal on which the Moxie Bottle House is to be erected.

Memorial Day fun! Deb Kure, George & Judy Gross do the final preservation touchup work on the Moxie Bottle House "cap".

Bottle "cap" being delivered to the new museum annex..

Monday, June 8...wall sections of the Moxie Bottle House brought in using George Gross' new 16' trailer, leaving his garage now almost empty (after eight years)! 

Mid June: All bottle wall sections in and bottle cap in place ready to be hoisted to the museum ceiling. Getting all sections their final repair and preservation treatment...ready to put 'er all together.

The big day...June 20, 2009.... Neck pieces awaiting assembly.

John Higgins hauling in the neck sections with the top suspended by block and tackle.

George Gross aligning one of the neck sections.

Bottle now capped off! Assembly complete in a single day!

By the end of June, a label "insert" is in place, and final touches were added to make it ready for museum opening in July.

The newly completed Moxie Wing of the Matthews Museum!


So here it is, folks...capped all its glory...the fully assembled Moxie Bottle House/ the centerpiece of the National Moxie Museum wing of the Matthews Museum! For the full history of this unique century-old example of  American Advertising Mimetic Architecture, click HERE


Following is an adaptation from an article in the Village Soup:
Note: these photos have been reduced in size to fit this page, click on any photo to see it full size.


Matthews Museum gets Moxie

By Kim Lincoln...The Herald Gazette Reporter


UNION Maine (June 23): A group of dedicated citizens working together in Union have helped to preserve a piece of Moxie history. The Moxie Bottle House, a 32-foot bottle that was one of two created in the early 1900s as a trade show booth, has now become a permanent fixture at the Matthews Museum of Maine Heritage, located at the Union Fairgrounds. It is the only remaining booth of the two.


The bottle is complete with label and bottle cap, and doors and windows, and was once used to purvey samples of the distinctive beverage to the clamoring public, according to the New England Moxie Congress Web site.

On June 20, after nine years of raising funds, a group of people from the Matthews Museum and the New England Moxie Congress brought the bottle to its new home in Union.

The bottle will be available for public viewing when the museum opens for the season on Wednesday, July 1. The bottle house is scheduled for a dedication on Wednesday, Aug. 26 during Moxie Day at the Union Fair.


Volunteers prepare to lift one of the top portions of the Moxie bottle, which will be on display in the new National Moxie Museum annex of the Matthews Museum located on the Union Fairgrounds. (Photo by Amy Lea)


John Higgins, left, and George Gross look down from the top of the Moxie bottle. (Photo by Amy Lea)


Dr. Augustin Thompson, a native of Union, patented the cure-all nostrum called "Moxie Nerve Food" and distributed it from a small plant in Lowell, Mass., in the form of a carbonated beverage. It became regionally successful, with production growing steadily into the 20th century as the Moxie Nerve Food Company expanded and transferred its base of operations to Boston, according to the Web site.


Matthews Museum President George Gross said the bottle, which was in pieces, was stored until recently in his garage in Bristol after being purchased from two men from Wells. The men, who bought the bottle with plans to display it, never got the project off the ground and decided to sell the bottle to the New England Moxie Congress, Gross said.

A group has worked to raise money and in 2008 began construction of a post and beam-style annex to the Union museum to house the bottle and other Moxie memorabilia. Gross said the museum has more than 100 Moxie items.


The bottle comes packed with history.

With the passage of the Pure Foods and Drug Act of 1906, Moxie began a campaign to promote the carbonated beverage as being purer and cleaner than its competitors.

The bottle's first known display was at the New England Food Fair at Mechanics Hall in Boston in the fall of 1907. The bottle stand was of oak, spruce and New England pinewood, designed with pin-connected sections that could be easily dismantled, transported, and reassembled in "road show" fashion, according to the Web site.

In 1908 and 1909 the stand was used at various events, including in Coney Island, N.Y., and in 1910 it was put at the Pine Island Amusement Park in Manchester, N.H. It remained at the park for about a decade.




Otto Hunt, front, and Clark Hooper lift a portion of the Moxie bottle to the top of the building. (Photo by Amy Lea)


(Right) Once the old shingles were removed from the outside of the 103-year-old Moxie bottle, original lettering was revealed. (Photo by Amy Lea)

The bottle was then used as a 3-story addition to a New Hampshire home, where it remained until the 1990s.

The group is still raising money to finish the project. Donations are being accepted and Gross encourages people to become members of the Matthews Museum, at $10 a year.

Admission to the museum is $2. It is open from noon to 4 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays through Labor Day. It also will be open all day during Union Founders Day, which is Saturday, July 17.



(Right) New England Moxie Congress President Merrill Lewis, right, and member Scott Bernier (with Dr. Thompson in between) stand in the Moxie display room at the Matthews Museum on the Union Fairgrounds. (Photo by Amy Lea)


Related Links:

Matthews Museum of Maine Heritage.


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