Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Ice Man Cometh

I grew up in the rolling hills of Ohio, where dairy farms were quite prevalent. The area had been settled in the early 1800's by many immigrants from Germany and Switzerland because it reminded them of their homeland. These immigrants took up the occupations they knew best, dairy farming and cheese making. When the industrial revolution took a foothold, producing and distributing fresh dairy products to city dwellers became a prosperous and growing industry. We were lucky enough to have one such locally owned dairy in my hometown. The Goshen Dairy was founded in 1920 and continued to grow and expand until 2002 when it was bought by a large dairy conglomerate. 
Some of my fondest childhood memories involve the Goshen Dairy from eating the best Ice cream in the world, to the little individual bottles of milk we received each day in elementary school as an afternoon snack. But my fondest memories were of the horse drawn wagons that delivered dairy products to our home as late as 1972. You heard that right, milk, butter, Ice cream and other dairy items were delivered right to our door by a horse drawn wagon, chilled by large blocks of Ice, in the 70's! 
 Our milk man's name was Dan and the horse who visited our house everyday, spring through fall was Dewey. The two of them are pictured above. I knew what time Dewey would arrive at our home and waited impatiently on the front porch to hear the clip clop of his hooves coming down the street. Dewey was a beautiful Belgium Draft Horse and I thought the smartest horse ever! Dan would stop in front of a house, leave the products on the front steps and as he walked back towards the wagon, Dewey would automatically move on to the next house without being told to do so. Oh the conversations I had with Dewey as he waited to move on to the next house. As luck would have it, our house was one of the last stops before Dan and Dewey would make their way downtown to the barn. To lighten the load for Dewey on his trip back to the barn, Dan would toss the large blocks of Ice on to the street where the neighborhood kids would grab them and slide back and forth across the street as we sat on them. What fun on a hot summer day! I always hated when Winter arrived and Dan had to make his rounds in a truck and I wouldn't get to see Dewey for months. The horse drawn delivery ended in March of 1972 when the barn was destroyed by lightening and the big Belgium draft horses were moved to the country. 
A few years ago as the last dairy store was closed, they held an auction of all the dairy's belongings. The four horse drawn wagons used on the different routes were sold and brought between $8,200 and $11,000 dollars each. My sister attended the auction and bought a number of items and surprised me just this past Christmas with two of the items she bought! 
This little replica of the horse drawn wagons is actually a bank. I'm not sure of it's exact age but I think they might have been made in the 70's to commemorate the end of the horse drawn era. 

This next item is a cardboard megaphone that once held milk or some other beverage. They always sold these during football season so that customers could consume the contents, remove the top and the bottom and have a megaphone to take with them to the local high school games. 

What a clever advertising stunt! I can't believe this thing actually survived all these years. Thanks for sharing one of my fondest childhood memories. xxoo Nan
I'll be linking this to: 
Vintage Thingie Thursday at Colorado Lady
Alphabe Thursday for the Letter I at Jenny Matlocks


  1. How fun. I remember the milk man (well, not the milk man, himself, but that we had it delivered). I used to love to put the little spinny thing in the empty bottles that told him what to leave behind the next time.

    I was shocked when I moved to the mountains in UT and found that there is a dairy here that still delivers to this day!

  2. Back many years ago when I was growing up, everything was delivered to the house. I remember my grandparents getting milk, ice, tea and coffee, and most everything that could be delivered was. Some of the "good" ole days were not all bad.

  3. I really enjoyed the story. How sweet of your sister to get you a memento to remind you of a part of your childhood.

  4. very cool story Love the items your sister got you

  5. We too received glass bottles of milk on our doorstep from our hometown dairy - West's Dairy in Hayward, Wisconsin.

    Fun memories!!!

  6. Nothing better in the morning than that frozen cream popped up out of the neck of the bottle so suck on. Yum!
    ... home town of Chehalis Washington.

    Have a beautiful eve ~
    TTFN ~

  7. Hi Nan, thanks for stopping by and your nice comment. I really enjoyed this post. What wonderful memories. We had a milkman but he delivered with a truck, and we had an "egg man" also but with a truck! I do miss those days so much. Everything just tasted better. xo

  8. What a fun post. I have a milk bottle or two, but never had any delivered to our house. Happy VTT

  9. What great memories! We never had that where we lived. I do have a collection of old milk bottles, though.

  10. Oh Nan,
    Do you really really know how lucky you were???? Mu gosh what a wonderful story! :) Sandy

  11. Great to have such memories! When I used to stay with my grandmother, we had a baker and butcher come round the rural communities in their smart vans. My dad remembers the milk coming by horse and cart.

  12. Hey Nan, it's so good to hear from you! Thanks for coming by and entering my giveaway.

    Those are such wonderful childhood memories. It made me think of my own childhood milk days when the milk man came to our door with those wonderful glass bottles and at Christmas time colorful chocolate ball ornaments to hang on the Christmas tree. Ahhh - good times. I just wish ours would have had a horse.

    OO's...Tracy ♥ @ Cotton Pickin Cute

  13. Wow! We had a milkman in the 70's, but he didn't have a horse drawn cart, and didn't bring ice cream!
    Great picture to go with your post!

  14. We had a milkman, too, for awhile in Ohio. I remember it well! My grandmother actually had a spring house to store milk from the cows and we kids would often pilfer a Coke to hide in there and get ice cold!

    I loved this post.

    Such a lovely time for you. Thank you for sharing it.


  15. Very fun memories! I hope you had a wonderful birthday! HAPPY BIRTHDAY to you! ♥♥♥

  16. Well we had no horse carts here in California, but the helms Truck and the milk man were the closest to your Milk Cart with live horses what a trip! ox, Diane

  17. Are you from New Philly? My grandparents lived there and my younger sister and I would stay for a month or so in the summer. Grandpa worked at Joy Manufacturing. I loved the Goshen Dairy milk horse. I was like you--I would wait for the sounds of his hooves and run out just to pet him. The milkman would chat with Grandma to I could have a little more time with the horse. (I was and still am horse-crazy!) I loved how the horse would automatically go to the next house on the route. Goshen Dairy was the BEST! I loved their ice cream and cottage cheese. Nothing has compared to it. We thought of moving there until we saw that Goshen Dairy was closed. Really no reason to move there except for the merry-go-round in the park! Grandpa used to take us and sit on the bench, waving to us each time we rolled by. He would buy a huge bunch of tickets and we would go around and around. What wonderful memories! Like you, my sister bought me the same horse and wagon bank from someone on Ebay. I love it!

    1. I still go back to New Philly every year to ride the merry-go-round!

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  19. I lived in New Philly and loved the Goshen horse coming down the street!

  20. I remember Dewey very well. My Dad worked for Goshen Dairy for 35 years before he passed away. I was only 14 in 1973 when he passed. I would go with my Dad on his route quite often during the summer. My Dad was one who loved his job and was never in a hurry to get back to New Phila. I always would say I would go if we would make it back so I could see Dan and ride Dewey back to the barn... Thank you for the memory.. It's been since 1972 that I had that great pleasure.


I appreciate each and every one of your comments! Thank you for taking the time to leave such nice words!