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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Maedel descendant seeks familial artifacts

- Essex’s community centre on Gosfield Townline was named after Maedel last year -

by Adam Gault

The descendant of one of Essex’s most prominent citizens of the first half of the 20th century is seeking photos and artifacts relating to his grand-grandfather’s life, businesses, and personal ventures. This quest is an effort to continue to preserve the legacy of Charles Maedel, an individual who had an instrumental impact in the development of Essex throughout the first half of the 20th century.

  With the Town of Essex renaming the Essex Community Centre at 25 Gosfield Townline to the Maedel Community Centre in 2020, Doug Maedel has been on a mission to acquire as many artifacts relating to his ancestor as possible, with the hopes of organizing a public display at the building, in addition to the potential addition of a mural to commemorate his lasting contributions to Essex.

  Born in 1874, the entrepreneur founded Maedel’s Beverages in 1908, where the company produced, bottled, and distributed their own soft drinks.

  In 1935, he purchased the second ever Pepsi franchise in Canada, which happened to be the first in Ontario, which gave him licence to produce and distribute the popular beverage.

  “His history is endless,” Doug explained, adding that at one time, Maedel was even Chief of the Essex Fire Department. “He employed so many people. I worked there, my son worked there, five generations worked there just on my side of the family.”

  In addition to supporting the economic growth in Essex in those early days, Maedel also backed numerous clubs and extracurriculars over the course of his life, with his efforts being critical in bringing the Boy Scouts to Essex, leadership within the Essex Rotary Club, and of course, the foundation of the Essex Boys Band, which included his sponsorship of concerts and the construction of a bandshell in the town.

  For his project, Doug is seeking just about anything and everything pertaining to his great-grandfather’s business and contributions, including items such as photographs, or more physical objects, such as Maedel soft drink bottles or cases.

  “A lot of people who might have something may have either passed away, or thrown it away. This is quite old stuff here,” Maedel said. “He started bottling in 1908 and it continued until 1989. That’s over 80-years with a business in a small town like this. That’s unheard of.”

While the Maedel family sold their business in 1989, the Pepsi plant at the corner of Highway #3 and Gosfield Townline continues today, because of Maedel’s efforts in bringing Pepsi to Ontario more than a century ago.

  Those who have items they believe would be appropriate for Doug Maedel’s display, are encouraged to contact him by phone at (519) 776-5494 or by email at

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