I was a teenage beer can collector…Part 1

Thirty-five years ago today I became a minor celebrity when this article appeared in The Patriot Ledger:

The high school senior stylin’ in his Wrangler Wranch outfit (20% employee discount, who wouldn’t?)

I had been collecting for two years, after my good friend Jim Horrigan introduced me to the hobby and gave me quite a few cans to start me off. Everyone in high school seemed to know us as “The Beer Can Collectors,” and friends and relatives would bring back empties from all over the country for us. We’d often go “dumping” around town; looking for cans in various teenage drinking spots around Dedham. One memorable cache of Narragansett cans from 1964 was found in the woods along the bottom of Sprague Street in the Manor. Another good spot to look was on Rte 135 at Wilson’s Mountain.

The newspaper article came about as a result of an exhibition of my collection in the Dedham Public Library. I’m still a little amazed that my teenaged self had the audicity to suggest displaying the cans, and even more amazed that library officials agreed to do it!

says brilliant yeah June in Framingham
JP’s beer cans on display at the main branch of the Dedham Public Library in 1977

My “museum” was located in the basement of my parents’ house on Tower St., stacked up on two metal bookcases. I kept the stacks in alphabetical order, and whenever I got a new can I would try to insert it into the stack without having to take the whole thing down. This almost always resulted in an avalanche of several hundred metal cans crashing down on me followed by startled shouts from upstarirs.

The stack in the cellar

I would have to say that the most common question I’ve been asked at each of my Dedham High reunions has been “Do you still have your beer cans?” I’ll tell you all about that, and more, in:

Explore posts in the same categories: JP's Dedham

9 Comments on “I was a teenage beer can collector…Part 1”

  1. scootykatie Says:

    I love seeing you as a teenager! I can’t wait to read part two!


  2. catoutofhell Says:

    Heh. I recall leaving one or two at a swimming hole we called “The Pit” behind what used to be the Rust Craft plant. They were mostly Busch Bavarians though. I guess you could say we were price conscious.

    Not exactly collectibles, eh?


  3. Kathy Says:

    And Mr. Horrigan is still a friend of yours. Wow.


  4. Kathy Megan Says:

    Hi Jim,
    I just happened upon this site when I googled “Paul Park”. Very impressive collection!!! My neighbors on Border St. also had a collection in their garage and would get most of them from the tracks. My husband loves the story of how my 8th grade homeroom/history teacher went around the room asking us to name a brand of beer. I amazed him with my knowledge of beers only because we would often spend our time helping to add to the collection. Great story!


  5. Great post! Looks like you had quite the collection. It’s always a good feeling to be even a small-time celebrity.


  6. Gordon Diako Says:

    Hello Collector!
    I hope you and your entire family are doing fine.
    Please give my address to your friends who are into collection and remember i have Africa arts, Car number plates, Expired passports, telephone cards, postcards, labels, cigarette packs, matches boxes, coasters, viewcards, stamps, FDC’s, bottle caps, banknotes, coins, coasters, empty cans of softdrinks & beer, playing cards, banana stickers and other collectibles all from Africa for sale. What do you think??
    Diako Gordon,
    P. O. Box KT. 361,
    Kotobabi -Accra,
    Email; gordontelecards@yahoo.com
    My Telephone Number (GSM); 00233 – 24 – 4516875/ 00233 – 27 – 5547699.
    I wait to hear from you very soon if you are interested in buying any of my Africa collectibles so that we can agree on something and subsequently post them to you.
    Till then, it’s bye for now and take care of yourself.


  7. The Pits was also a setting for tragedy. At least twice in my childhood my brother (Civil Defense scuba diver) assisted in recovering drowning victims there. Drinking doesn’t mix with a steep dropoff from the “beach” into water well over your head.


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