A father and his teenage son from the Montgomery area stumbled upon a significant find while indulging in the popular hobby of digging for old bottles. While many enthusiasts search for particular types of bottles like perfume or soft drink bottles from a bygone era, Brian Traylor and his 14-year-old son, Grant, were drawn to a green glass bottle that piqued their interest. The discovery was made during a recent excavation trip.
As they opened the bottle, they were thrilled to discover what was inside and couldn’t wait to share their findings with the grateful family.
Over the weekend, the Traylors were exploring an old bottle dump in Hope Hull, Montgomery County when they stumbled upon a prescription bottle. What sets this discovery apart is that the label inside the bottle was still intact and easy to read, linking it to the renowned Dr. Richard H. Harris Jr. who was the proprietor of Montgomery’s oldest Black-owned drugstore.
Brian Traylor was amazed at what he discovered when he searched on Google. According to him, he found out about the incredible contribution of a man to civil rights and how strong and courageous he was.
During World War II, Harris served as a captain in the 99th Fighter Squadron of the renowned 332nd Fighter Group, famously known as the Tuskegee Airmen. Additionally, Harris made significant contributions to the civil rights movement throughout his life.
According to Traylor, the object in question is not just a mere item but rather a powerful symbol of testimony, hope, history, and determination.
On June 16, 1958, Harris Jr. wrote and placed the prescription in the bottle. Despite being discarded many years ago, it managed to withstand the elements. Typically, bottles like this lose significant historical information when thrown away as they are buried in the dump and water seeps inside, destroying any paper material.
After successfully tracking down the rare bottle, Traylor went above and beyond by seeking out the family of the late doctor on social media. Remarkably, they agreed to meet with him, and he presented the bottle to them as a gesture of goodwill.
Traylor expressed that the satisfaction of discovering something valuable and returning it to its rightful place is what makes all the effort worthwhile.
Valda Montgomery, daughter of Harris, is confident that the bottle will enable her family to keep sharing their story with tourists. They open up the Harris House to visitors who are interested in learning more about their history.
Montgomery expressed his utmost gratitude and excitement upon receiving the news. “It’s a tremendous addition and we now have the opportunity to share it with a brand new audience of people,” he said.
The Centennial Hill Historic District recognized the Harris house as a Contributing property in 1992, and it was subsequently listed on the Alabama Register of Historic Places.
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