Historical Albion Michigan
By Frank Passic

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Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.


Morning Star, January 17, 2002, pg. 3

Albion once had numerous dairies scattered throughout town in the early 20th century which delivered milk to your doorstep. Some were larger than others. The smaller ones were located in barns in back of homes where farmer’s milk was pasteurized and poured into quart bottles and then delivered.

One such dairy was the Humphrey Dairy, located behind 514 S. Eaton St. on the corner of S. Eaton and W. Elm Sts. It was operated by Philip E. Humphrey (1886-1954), who came to America from Wimbledon, England at the age of 21 to live with his cousins, the Harrod family. During the 1910s Philip worked at the Gillick and Harrod grocery here in Albion owned by Albert E. Harrod, and lodged in the building. Albert Harrod and his wife were witnesses at Philip’s 1910 wedding to Annie Searl. The couple moved to 514 S. Eaton St.

Philip’s occupation is listed as “milk delivery” in the 1920 U.S. Census, and the 1923-24 Albion City Directory lists the firm of “Humphrey and Harrison.” The Humphrey Dairy is listed in the 1926 through the 1939 Albion City directories. It was located in the small “garage” type building which stood for many years behind the home. It should be noted that milk sanitation standards and methods were not the same as today, and thus this type of operation was allowed and flourished.

The book “The Milk Bottle Book of Michigan” lists one glass quart bottle issued by the Humphrey Dairy in Albion, bearing a date of 1931. As with other milk bottles from Albion, these are collector’s items today. The dairy closed at the start of World War II. After his wife Annie’s death in 1942, Philip remarried and moved to Hillsdale where he died in 1954. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery in Albion.

From our Historical Notebook this week we present a mid-1920s era photograph of the Humphrey Dairy horse-drawn delivery wagon which made its rounds throughout town. The text painted on the wagon states “Milk & Cream. Phone 920. Humphrey’s Dairy.” Standing with a rack of milk bottles in his hand is son Wallace Humphrey, and his sister Margretta. In the rear is the small garage-type building with a sign that states, “Humphrey’s Dairy.” On the right is the unnamed horse’s better half.

Special thanks to a descendant, Shawn Humphrey, for this week’s photograph. How many of our readers remember the Humphrey Dairy or have a bottle or bottle-cap from this business? Special thanks to Douglas and Shawn Humphrey for this week’s photograph.

Humphrey Dairy, mid-1920s


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