Fred Beers, Inc., Ozone Park, L.I.

Census records show Fred Beers immigrating to the U.S. from Germany in 1906. In 1910 he was living on 118th Street in Manhattan and listed himself as the driver of a milk wagon. By 1920 he was living in the Bronx and simply called himself a milkman. In 1930, he was living in Brooklyn and was the proprietor of a milk company.

Fred Beers, Inc. maintained facilities in both Ozone Park, Queens and Freeport, Long Island and started sometime around 1930.

The first listing for Fred Beers, Inc. in Ozone Park that I can find is in the 1931 telephone directory at 101-11 100th Street, where it remained through 1953. In Freeport, the business was listed at 176 N Main Street in 1930 and 25 Bennington Avenue in 1939 where it remained through at least 1950. A 1938 advertisement in the Patchogue Advance listed both the Ozone Park and Freeport locations.

The December 2, 1940 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle ran a story that Beers was one of 16 firms participating in a city relief milk program:

Sixteen milk companies in Brooklyn and Queens have agreed, up to today, to participate in the city relief milk program by which children under 16 years of age will get a pint a day free. The plan is sponsored by Mayor LaGuardia and the United States Department of Agriculture.

In 1953 they moved the Queens location to 103-45 98th Street in Woodhaven. They remained there through at least the late 1960’s.

In the late 1940’s the name in the phone listings changes from Fred Beers, Inc. to Beers, Inc. That’s an indication that Fred Beers may have left and/or sold the business around this time. Based on census records he would have been in his 60’s by that time so it makes sense.

The 101-11 100th St location is a two story commercial building that could certainly date back to the business.The Bennington Avenue location is an open yard directly adjacent to the LIRR tracks. It looks like it could be one of the railroad’s construction staging areas.

The bottle I found is a machine made quart embossed Fred Beers Inc. Ozone Park, L.I. This would date it between the business start-up in the early 1930’s and the name change in the late 1940’s.

Hardscrabble Farm Dairy, East Hampton, NY

The 170 acre farm, actually called the Dayton Farm, was known locally as the Hardscrabble Farm. There’s a great undated picture in the East Hampton Library’s Long Island Collection that apparently shows school children visiting the dairy and being served glasses of milk.

A brief description of the farm and it’s history is contained in a March 2, 1928 story in the East Hampton Star. Located on the Sag Harbor Turnpike (Route 114), it ran through to Hands Patch and Long Lane. At the time, besides operating a local milk route, the farm supplied a large part of the milk used at Sag Harbor.

This large farm which has been in the Dayton family for the past four generations has been cultivated quite extensively for the past half century. Within the memory of the younger generation, when Mr. and Mrs. Josiah Dayton and Mr. Dayton’s father (Edward according to census records) made it their homestead, the farm was worked and it’s production was of quite some magnitude. For several years the Dayton brothers, including Josiah Dayton’s sons, Ralph, Edward T. and Robert J. Dayton did a truck business on a large scale. The farm was later converted into a modern dairy and under the ownership and management of the recent owner, R.J. Dayton, has grown to become one of the largest and best equipped milk producing dairies on eastern Long Island.

The Dairy is equipped with a large cow barn, which accommodates seventy-two milking cows which produce a large part of the milk that supplies the Sag Harbor and East Hampton Market. Mr. Dayton was one of the first local dairymen to conduct a tuberculin test. Other modern equipment includes one of the latest sanitary bottle washers, milking machines, coolers, sterilizers, etc.

The purpose of the East Hampton Star story was to announce the sale of the farm to Judge Samuel A. Seabury. Seabury was a State Supreme Court Judge and later Court of Appeals Judge famous for presiding over the Seabury Hearings, investigating corruption in NYC government.  With the purchase of the Dayton Farm, Seabury increased his real estate holdings in the area to nearly 700 to 800 acres, practically all in one large tract. Dayton re-leased the farm and continued to run the dairy business after the sale.

According to another East Hampton Star story, a year later, in March, 1929, the Hardscrabble Dairy incorporated with a capitalization of $20,000. The story describes the reasoning behind the capitalization:

The milk supply locally has not kept pace with the growing demand, according to Mr. Dayton. During the summer months the dairymen are forced to import several hundred quarts from New York daily to supply the demand, which is at it’s height during the months of June, July, August and September. The milk is of poorer quality and does not measure up to the quality of the local supply or meet with the requirements of the new milk code…with this ready market and a well equipped plant to produce the product there are many who believe the newly organized concern will be a money-making project.

In the early 1930’s pasteurization allowed large milk companies to transport their product out to the east end of Long Island and compete with the local dairies. In an effort to maintain their market share, six local east end dairies, including Hardscrabble, banded together and launched a combined advertising campaign. The various advertisements stressed clean, safe, natural milk.

Dayton continued to run the business until May 1, 1939 when Charles Schwenk Jr took over the routes.The announcement came in the June 15, 1939 issue of the East Hampton Star.

They continued to use the name “Hardscrabble Farm Dairy” in advertisements until the mid-1940’s after which they shortened it to simply “Hardscrabble Farm”

Seabury sold the property to the Jemkarp Corporation of New York City. At least one of the new owners, J.M. Kaplan was local to East Hampton. Today much of the area remains a farm that runs a local farmstead called Dayton Farms at Hardscrabble. They sell vegetables, fruits, berries, flowers, baked goods and cheese.

On a final note, the June 1, 1967 issue of the East Hampton Star ran a story on how the farm got the name Hardscrabble:

One of the Dayton owners long ago was supposed to have said that a lot of his land was so poor that it was a hard scrabble to make a living on it.

Another family legend goes that Josiah (John) Dayton of Hardscrabble Farm, 150 years ago or so, had a carriage built, the first one in town with springs. It was considered such an extravagance that he waited a month before driving it to the village.

When he did, everybody shook their heads and said “Josiah will have a hard scrabble to pay for that”.

The bottle I found is a machine made quart with a slug plate. It was most likely made in the early 1930’s after the sale of the farm to Seabury.

 

Ideal Dairy Co., 203 20th St.

 

The Ideal Dairy Company was in business from 1912 to 1918 and possibly a little longer. The company was listed the the 1914 through 1917 Brooklyn Classified Telephone Directories and there are references to the company in a 1912 Brooklyn Eagle Story. Their address was always given as 203 20th Street in Brooklyn. They were not listed in the 1910 or 1920 Brooklyn Classifieds. The 1913 -1914 Copartnership and Corporation Directory listed George Ihnken as President and Director. Prior to 1914, George Shukens was President.

The 1915, Directory of Directors in the City of New York listed Ihnken as Vice President of the Dairymen’s Manufacturing Co., as well as President of the Ideal Dairy Company.

The company was listed as a licensed milk dealer by the NYS Department of Agriculture in the year ending September 30, 1915, the only year I could find. That year, the Department of Agriculture also listed them as the proprietor or manager of a dairy plant in McClure New York.

The company was convicted of not properly labeling their milk bottles on at least two occasions in 1913. At the time, according to the Sanitary Code, milk had to be graded and labeled as A, B or C according to the bacteria contents and the score made in a government test at the farms where the milk originated.

A February 7, 1913 story in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle stated:

The Ideal Dairy Company of 203 Twentieth Street of which George Shukens is President was four times convicted of not putting labels on its bottles denoting the grade of milk. The Ideal Company pleaded guilty and sentence was suspended.

One month a later a similar story stated:

The Ideal Dairy Company, by representative, pleaded guilty to a charge of not properly labeling its bottles and sentence was suspended.

The lack of labels could potentially have lead to “C” milk, which was fit for cooking or manufacturing only, being used for consumption.

The company’s lack of attention to sanitary regulations ultimately caught up with them and led to a series of law suits against the company in 1917. According to a story in the May 17, 1917 edition of the New York Sun:

Residents of South Brooklyn and Bay Ridge have begun sixteen suits asking a total of $306,000 damages from the Ideal Dairy Company of 203 Twentieth Street, Brooklyn, alleging that milk sold by it during 1915 caused some of those who drank it to be stricken with typhoid fever and was responsible for several deaths. Summons and complaints in the actions were yesterday filed in the King’s County Clerk’s office.

George Ihnken, understood to be the proprietor, was not at the plant yesterday, but it is said that the charges made will be vigorously denied. Parts of South Brooklyn and Bay Ridge were affected by an outbreak of typhoid in 1915, but the cause was not officially established.

On the same day that this story appeared, the Ideal Dairy published an advertisement denying the charges and defending its reputation.

I haven’t been able to determine who prevailed in the law suits but within two years the company was no longer in business.

The bottle I found is a machine made pint that fits a 1912 to 1919 manufacture date.

Balsams Dairy, 712 Hendrix St., Brooklyn New York

A Balsam is a long time Brooklyn resident, listed in the Brooklyn Telephone Directories at 712 Hendrix Street from the early 1920’s until the late 1960’s. In addition, between 1929 and 1933 A Balsam is listed under milk in the Brooklyn Classified Directories at the same Hendrix Street address. Based on this information, it’s possible that Balsam may have run a small dairy operation at or near his home on Hendrix Street for a short period of time.

The company is mentioned in a September 23, 1932 article in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle as one of three milk dealers accused of price-cutting.

The three milk dealers, it was charged at the meeting, are advertising milk for 4, 5 and 6 cents a quart. The three concerns are the Eisenberg Farms Company, I Balsam Company and the Lincoln Farms…No one in authority could be reached for comment at the A Balsam Company Plant, 712 Hendrix Street, or the Lincoln Farms Company, 1625 Dean St.

The article refers to the company as both I Balsam and A Balsam. As a result, it’s possible that A Balsam is somehow part of the large Isaac Balsam Dairy Operation.

Isaac Balsam started the first Chalav Israel dairy farm on the east coast. He started the dairy farm in 1903 in Ozone Park Queens. The dairy farm was located on Old South Road, now Pitkin Avenue, and at it’s peak had 300 cows. According to Wikipedia, Balsam also ran a plant that processed milk from other farms. It’s possible that the Hendrix Street location was part of that operation although I can’t connect an “A Balsam” with the Balsam family.

The bottle I found is a machine made half pint that fits with a 1929 to 1933 manufacture date.

High-Ground Dairy Co., Brooklyn NY

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The High-Ground Dairy Co. was in business from 1902 to the early 1920’s, always using 443 – 453 Madison Street as their primary address.

The Company is first listed in the 1902 Brooklyn City Directory and the January 21, 1902 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle contains the following item with the heading “New Dairy Concern”

Articles incorporating the High-Ground Dairy Co. of Brooklyn have been filed with the Secretary of State. The capital stock is placed at $50,000. And the directors for the first year are: Frederick H Herkstrater, Charles Flugge and Henry W Herkstrater.

Later, the business is listed in the 1913-1914 and 1922 Copartnership and Corporation Directories of Brooklyn and Queens. C M Richardson and Charles Cooke respectively are listed as President.

In addition to the Madison Street location the business also had several branch stores throughout Brooklyn. I’ve seen them list 219 York Street and 325 Centre Street in newspaper articles and advertisements. The company also owned at least one creamery in Broome County, New York – the Center Lisle High-Ground and one creamery in rural Pennsylvania; the Hop Bottom Creamery.

In 1911 they apparently had some identity issues. A January 24, 1911 notice published in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle stressed that the company was still in business.

highground-notice

They were one of 16 dairies listed as selling Grade “A” milk in a November 20, 1915 Bulletin put out by the NYC Department of Health and their advertisements stressed cleanliness. A 1913 advertisement stated: “Bottled Under Sanitary Conditions” and a 1914 advertisement stated” High-Ground Milk is bottled and capped automatically. Human hands do not come in contact with the bottles from the time they are washed until the driver leaves them at your door. Absolute purity and cleanliness are therefore guaranteed.”

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The 1922 Directory contains the last listing that I can find for the business and I can find no advertisements for them after that year. It’s possible that the milk delivery strike in November of 1921 hurt the business beyond repair but I can’t prove it. During the strike they ran a notice in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle telling their customers where they could obtain milk.

highground-strike-notice

I found one machine made quart bottle with significant Manganese Dioxide purpling. It fits with a teen’s manufacture date. The head of a deer or elk is embossed on the back of the bottle.

 

M H Renken Dairy Co., 131 Emerson Pl., Brooklyn

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The story of the M H Renken Dairy Co. is told in detail in a June 16, 2015 paper prepared by the Landmarks Preservation Commission proposing landmark status for two Renken Buildings, the dairy office and engine room building. The buildings, located at Myrtle Avenue and Classon Avenue, were part of the dairy complex that encompassed most if not all of the block bounded by Myrtle Avenue, Classon Avenue, Willoughby Avenue and Emerson Place. Much of the information that follows has been summarized from the Landmarks Preservation Commission document. (In much greater detail than I could ever hope to dig up on my own!)

Martin Henry Renken immigrated to the United States in 1872 and in 1888 he founded a dairy on Park Avenue and Spencer Street in Brooklyn. At the start the dairy had only one route that was served by a single horse and wagon driven by Renken. By 1896 the business had moved to 864 Bedford Avenue and was called the Bedford Dairy. Around this time the company established it’s first creamery in upstate New York where milk was received from area farmers and shipped, on a train car refrigerated with ice to Hoboken. In Hoboken it was picked up by wagon, ferried across the Hudson River and taken to the dairy via the Brooklyn Bridge.

By 1903, the business had begun to purchase property on the Myrtle/Classon block and had moved their offices to 204 Classon Avenue. A year later, in 1904, it was listed as the M H Renken Dairy as well as the Bedford Dairy. Around this time, the company had one wholesale route and ten delivery routes. In addition, they had added a distribution center in Borough Park and several more creameries in upstate New York and Pennsylvania.

The business incorporated in 1912 as the M H Renken Dairy Co. By 1914, the company continued to expand and had moved their offices to 131 Emerson Place (the address embossed on one of the bottles I found). Less than ten years later, in a May 16, 1923 advertisement Renken listed seven branches in addition to the Emerson Place plant, five in Brooklyn and two in Queens.

By 1930 they were expanding into Long Island where they opened a new distribution center in Rockville Centre that supported a completely motorized delivery fleet.

At this point Renken was NYC’s largest “independent” dairy, behind national conglomerates Borden and Sheffield Farms.

In 1934, Martin Renken died and was succeeded by his son, Henry as President. At this time, the company was at its peak, operating about 300 delivery routes and employing over 600 people. By this time the business had a subsidiary called United Creameries that I’m guessing encompassed their rural facilities in upstate NY and Pennsylvania. A 1930 advertisement  mentioned 12 upstate New York creameries in Orange, Herkimer, Steuben and Tioga counties alone. In 1938, Renken was bottling over seven million quarts of milk a year, all pasteurized and bottled at the Myrtle/Classon complex.

In the 1950’s Renken began to succumb to the trend away from home milk delivery and toward the suburbanization of dairy processing and packaging and by 1959 it shut down milk processing at its main plant. At the time, Renken was still delivering and markrting milk under their name but Sealtest Dairy had taken over the processing. In 1965 Elmhurst Milk and Cream Company took over the processing and local delivery routes, leaving Renken with just wholesale deliveries. Finally, Renken was sold to Beyer Farms in 1986 and the Renken label was discontinued several years later.

I found 2 quart bottles and one half-pint bottle. One of the quart bottles has the 181 Emerson Pl. address embossed on it. The bottles appear to have been made in the late 20’s to mid 30’s based on numbered codes at the base. This dates them in and around the peak period of the business.

W M Evans Dairy Co, Inc., 3480 Fulton St, Brooklyn, NY

 

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The early history of the WM Evans Dairy is described in a January 9, 1925 story in the “Interlaken Review”, a local paper published in Senaca County NY. The story was written around the time Evans joined The Dairyman’s League Cooperative Association.

The Evans Dairy was founded in 1878 by the late WM Evans who operated exclusively for a time in the Williamsburg Section of Brooklyn. His son, William C Evans bought the business in 1904 and launched out on his own hook with seven wagons and ten horses.

Mr Evans rapidly built up trade. Today the company has 226 retail routes. The concern was incorporated under its present name in 1913.

Much of this is generally confirmed in the Brooklyn Directories:

  • Willet (or sometimes Willet M) Evans, milk, first appears in the 1880 Brooklyn City Directory with a Bushwick Avenue Address.
  • Over the next 30 years his listed addresses in Brooklyn included South 6th St and Keap Street, both located in Williamsburg.
  • Willet C Evans is listed with Willet M Evans starting around 1906.
  • The 1922 Copartnership and Corporation Directory for Brooklyn and Queens lists the company as a NY corporation with WC Evans named as President and Treasurer. By this time they had moved to 32 Lexington Avenue.

Regarding the sale of the company, the article states:

The Dairyman’s League Cooperative Association, Inc. has purchased the business and properties of the W M Evans Dairy Co. which has a large retail family trade in Kings and Queens Counties. The transfer will take place on January, 21, 1925. G W Slocum, president of the farmers association says that the twelve county plants embraced in the deal will be retained and operated by the association…The association has contracted to sell the city end of the business to Borden’s Farm Products Co.

Apparently the city end of the business became a subsidiary of Borden’s as a result of the sale but it appears that the Evans family maintained a significant ownership stake. According to various newspaper clippings, W C Evans is still the president in 1927 and the company continues to advertise themselves as W M Evans well into the 1940,s.

The company moved to 3480 Fulton Street in the late 1920’s and this appears to be their primary location through the late 1940’s. Most if not all advertisements through this period reference this location.

In the late 1920’s and 1930’s the company is also expanding into Long Island. Several advertisements during this period in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle mention Long Island locations in Rockville Centre at 239 Merrick Road and in Baldwin at 139 Sunrise Highway.

      

The Rockville Centre advertisement is dated 1928 and the Baldwin advertisement is dated 1938. It’s not clear whether both operated at the same time.

In 1949 the business sold the the three buildings located at the Fulton Street location. The sale is documented in the August 22, 1949 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

W M Evans Dairy Co., Inc. has sold the three 2-story brick buildings used as a milk plant at 3480 Fulton St., on an irregular plot 31×100, to Fulton Dairy Corp., an affiliate of Holland Farms.

After the sale, the company is no longer listed in the phone book and I can’t find any advertisements for Evans milk. However the actual end of the business did not come until the mid-1960’s.

A 1971federal indictment charged that during the mid 1960’s, Joseph P Fingst, at the time a Supreme Court Justice in NY, conspired with others to take control of the W M Evans Dairy Co. and the Evans-Amityville Dairy, Inc. The indictment went on to allege that the defendants sold off the dairy’s assets and pocketed the cash before causing the dairy to file for bankruptcy.

The indictment described the Evans Dairy Business at the time as a group of corporations whose stock was closely held by the Evans family.

There were six related corporations dealing with all the different phases of milk production and sale: a company which operated a receiving plant, Chenango Farm Products, Inc.; a purchasing company which also operated an additional milk receiving plant, W M Evans Dairy Inc.; a processing and distributing Company, Evans-Amityville Dairy, Inc; two companies which sold directly to retail customers, Woodside Farms, Inc. and Half Hollow Farms, Inc; and a real estate holding corporation that owned the property used by the processing and distributing company, Highground Realty Corporation. The two principal components of the business were W M Evans and Evans-Amityville

The building that housed Evans Dairy at 3480 Fulton Street remains in existence today.

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I found both a quart and half-pint Evans bottle. An Owens Illinois Glass code on the base of the half pint indicates a 1936 production date. This fits within the time frame that the company was located at 3480 Fulton Street.

Amityville Creamery, Inc./Evans-Amityville, Amityville L I

amityville-evans

It’s not clear when the Amityville Creamery came into business but there are references to them in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle that date back to 1924 and they are listed on an aerial map/poster promoting Amityville published in 1925 by the Metropolitan Aerial View Co. Their pitch on the poster was: “Best milk and cream on Long Island”

According to the “Post Card History Series – Amityville’ by Karen Mormando Klein, The Amityville Creamery was located on Wellington Place and Railroad Avenue near Hartman’s Lake in Amityville. (A later newspaper article lists the address as 47 Wellington Place.) Their motto was: “If you don’t buy from us we both lose money.”

amityville-creamery-ad

At least for a time, the business also maintained facilities in Freeport Long Island. The 1926 Freeport Directory lists them at two locations, 176 N Main and 37 S Grove. By 1930, the business is not listed in the Freeport Directory and another milk business, Fred Beers, Inc. is located at 176 N Main.

At some point, the company merged with Evans Dairy of Rockville Centre becoming the Evans-Amityville Dairy. I’ve found an Amityville Creamery bottle with a 1939 Owens-Illinois Glass code and an Evans-Amityville bottle with a 1946 Owens-Illinois Glass code leading me to believe that the merger occurred sometime between 1939 and 1946; probably in the early 1940’s.

According to various newspaper references the business also operated a distribution plant in Rockville Centre in the 1940’s and early 1950’s. The plant caught fire and burned to the ground on February 12, 1954.

The Evans-Amityville Dairy was one of a group of corporations whose stock was closely held by the Evans family. These corporations dealt with all phases of milk production and sales with Evans-Amityville focused on processing and distributing. They apparently grew significantly between the 1940’s and 1960’s as evidenced by an article in the March 3, 1960 issue of the Patchogue Advance. The article stated:

Willet H Evans, President of Evans Dairy Inc. of Amityville announced this week the acquisition of the former Stills Dairy of Medford. The ever-expanding dairy – termed the largest on Long Island – serves homes, hospitals, schools and stores from the Queens border to Montauk Point. The trade name was recently changed (from Evans-Amityville Dairy to Evans Dairy).

They continued to use the Wellington Place address for most (at least through 1957) if not all of their history.

The end of the business apparently came quickly. A 1971federal indictment charged that in the mid-1960’s Joseph P Fingst, at the time a Supreme Court Justice in NY, conspired with others to take control of the W M Evans Dairy Co. and the Evans-Amityville Dairy, Inc. The indictment went on to allege that the defendants sold off the dairy’s assets and pocketed the cash before causing the dairy to file for bankruptcy.

The Wellington Avenue site is now occupied by a series of condominiums and Hartman Lake has been renamed Petchkin Park.

I found two small half-pint bottles embossed Amityville Creamery Inc with the 1939 Owens-Illinois Glass code. They are also embossed with the patent no 1,650,440 and date of Nov 22, 1927. This patent applied for by Edward F Glacken related to the specific type of finish (that included embossed indentations) on the bottle. I also found two quart size Evans-Amityville bottles with Owens-Illinois Glass codes of 1946 and 1954. The 1954 bottle has a cream top.