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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.