Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, March 21, 2010 pg. 14
Albion once had numerous dairies in down which delivered milk to resident’s doorsteps, as was the custom of those days. The dairy period peaked in the 1930s and 1940s. During the 1950s these individual dairies began to close, and by the early-1960s they were all bought out and/or closed. The last processing dairy in Albion was the Home Dairy at 101 N. Ann St. It was bought out by Ashley Dairy of Battle Creek on August 1, 1963. I remember as a child getting milk delivered daily at school for 15 or 25 cents a week. Those who couldn’t afford it had to watch us drink it while we rested on our mats. At first the milk came in these half-pint bottles with the name of the dairy molded into the glass. By 1962 or thereabouts, the milk was delivered in the waxed coated cardboard containers. I remember it was the Home Dairy which delivered the milk to Dalrymple School. You’d try to pull open the triangular spout and the whole paper spout would tear because of the strength of the glue.
It was easy to identify the name of the dairy by the cap on top of the glass bottle. Only some of the larger bottles, mainly the quarts and half-gallons had the dairy name painted on the side (Haven Hills, Riverside, and Gem dairies). This is why yours truly has had only a few dairy articles in this column, as the clear glass bottles are hard to photograph with just the clear glass name. After the dairies closed, the bottles were discarded or became handy containers to put paint thinner in with brushes in the garage. It’s only been in the past few years that I’ve actually been searching for these bottles with different names as incentive to do research about them. As more are supplied I can write more articles.
This week I’d like to feature the Gold Top Dairy. This was located at then-1623 N. Eaton St. (28 Mile Road) just outside the city limits at the time. It was located across the street from Felpausch, approximately where Tire City is today. The street numbering system was later changed to accommodate business growth in this block. The Gold Top Dairy sold milk, buttermilk, cottage cheese, chocolate milk, and cream. In the February installment of this column we featured an aerial view photograph of the N. Eaton St. area. The buildings pictured just south of the trampoline courts on this photo is the location of the dairy.
The property consisted of the dairy building, and a farmhouse. The Gold Top Dairy was the successor of the 1930s-1940s (Floyd) Hicks Dairy which was sold in early 1948 to Anthoni Chlystek and his son Frank. The Chlysteks lived there on the farm. The Chlysteks changed the name from Hicks to Gold Top. Frank took over the dairy management in March, 1948. His father Anthoni died suddenly of a heart attack several weeks later, in May 1948.
After operating it for a few years, Frank sold the dairy to Harold Stratton, who lived in the farmhouse and operated the business during the early 1950s. Stratton also became a partner in the Home Dairy on N. Ann St. The final listing of the Gold Top Dairy appears in the 1951 City Directory. The 1953 directory lists Harold Stratton as living on 27 Mile Road and working at Crowell Carton in Marshall.
In lieu of a photo of the dairy building itself, from our Historical Notebook this week we present a Gold Top Dairy half-pint milk bottle. The bottom inscription includes the numerals “48,” meaning this bottle was manufactured in 1948 when the Chlystek’s purchased the business. How many of our readers remember the Gold Top Dairy? Do you have bottles from other Albion dairies?
Gold Top Dairy Half-Pint Milk Bottle
All text copyright, 2021 © all rights reserved Frank Passic