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Harbison Dairy Milk Bottle
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The Harbison Dairy, located at Coral & Abigail Streets in Kensington, closed in the early 1960's much like many of the factories in this part of the city. To this day the milk bottle water tower still remains a prominent landmark for this neighborhood. Several attempts have been made in recent years by community nonprofits to have the bottle repainted, but unfortunately the owner isn't too keen on the idea. A small section of the first floor has been rented out as a produce market for the Hispanic community in the area. The rest of the building is vacant. To the right you'll see the Market-Frankford El subway.
This article has been viewed 23230 times in the last 6 years
Mary: 20th Jun 2008 - 00:24 GMT
I love this shot. What memories it brings to mind. Some good, some bad. Bad was when I had to walk home after dark. The giant factory building enhanced my fear and the darkness. Good were the milk crates and moving rail that we kids in the neighborhood used to hop on and ride down,down,down. What fun. We also climbed the fire escape on the factory that was to the left of the dairy. Good was also when this street was covered with snow. My spirits were lifted as the blanket of white covered the dreariness of the factory wall and the horse manure that covered the street as the dairy horses went up and down Abigail Street with milk deliveries. Good was also Mike the milkman who always had a smile for us kids.
Thom Cartmell: 4th Jul 2008 - 07:06 GMT
I lived at Susquehanna ave and Trenton Ave. 2129 E. Susquehanna ave. I grew up there in the 40's and 50's I remember Mike. Damn I remember the Horse Drawn Milk Wagons and Mike. I think his horses name was Jerry if I am not Mistaken. My mother always knew when I was looking at the Horses. I came home with a Black Screen Print on my Nose I even loved the Smell of the Stable. there. Now I live in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. Retired from the Military 25 years service. If You know me write me. Thom Cartmell, firstname.lastname@example.org. Went to Hackett School, and Penn Treaty Jr High
Fran Jetcyk: 19th Nov 2008 - 14:04 GMT
I am looking for a picture of the wagon and horse that delivered milk. I forget the horse's name that thrilled me on Columbia Ave. in the early '50's. I fed him or her doughnuts from Marzell's Bakery down the street, and I would love to download or purchase a photo. This was very special to me. I visited the Philadelphia Archives website and could not find anything. If you can direst me to a resource, I would greatly appreciate it.
I remember Mike the Milkman: 1st Mar 2009 - 19:00 GMT
His Horses Name was "Jerry" Delivered Susquehanna ave, Trenton ave, York St (Hackett School)etc. Someone from Kensington drop me a line if You lived anywhere in Kensington. Thanx,
SARGE aka Thom Cartmell, US Army ABN Retired
Ed Plowman: 25th Aug 2009 - 22:03 GMT
Hi. I'm 77. My sisters and I lived on E. Cumberland St., between Cedar and Gaul, and attended Hackett elementary school in the mid- to late-1930s. I took my 16-year-old grandson (we live between Dulles Airport and Leesburg, Va.) on a recent one-day excursion to Philly by train. We got off the el at York-Dauphin and took a stroll through my old neighborhood. I was so disappointed to see the old Horatio B. Hackett school had long since disappeared, replaced by the large circular structure built there in 1967. (My grandson gently reminded me of the realities: "Granddad, I don't think I'd want to go to school in a building from 1930; it was better to build a new one than keep fixing an old one.")
Does anyone know if photos of the old Hackett are online or available somewhere else?
The neighborhood, like so much of Philadelphia, has fallen on hard and rundown times, but I found islands of hope on Frankford Ave. and elsewhere in Kensington during my stroll. I hope renewal comes to full bloom, and quickly. I told my grandson about those days in the old neighborhood during the Depression. It was tough for our parents (my dad was an Army sarge), I'm sure, but we seldom heard complaints. Looking back, I remember the horse-drawn wagons bringing milk, meat, produce, and ice cream along the streets. Only the bread guys had trucks, if I remember correctly. No one stole the bottles of milk left in metal boxes on the steps out front. In the alley that ran along the entire block out back, a family came through weekly, soliciting recyclables with shouts from their horse-drawn wagon, "Old rags, old rags!" On the streets, some old men offered one penny for every ten "long" cigarette butts we kids could collect for them from the gutters and sidewalks. (Ugh -- but a penny was a penny, and we could buy a small ice cream cone or flavored snow cone for as little as two pennies.) Kids were everywhere in the neighborhood, and we played together safely, often with no obvious adult supervision. Everyone looked out for each other. Those were wonderful years growing up.
Kathy Wilkinson (Peaches): 9th Sep 2009 - 15:32 GMT
My father was a "Harbisons Milkman", Joe the milkman. working out of Front and Diamond streets. He drove several horses, but Buddy a red roan with a mane that went over both sides, friendly and pleasant and Jackie a pretty dapple gray who had a little bit of a nsty streak, are two that I remember. My dad got up every morning at 3am and and loaded his wagon and would come home about 7, tie the horse to the "tellie pole" out front and have breakfast and get cleaned up.There were many mornings that he took me to school in the milk wagon. Wow I thought I was great being able to drive the horse down Clearfield Street to Conwell School. I can still hear the clinking of the bottles in back as the horse jogged down the street. My father drove a horse until 1956 or 57 and it still one of my favorite memories. Oh those were the simpler times. I'd love it if someone has a picture
rlghaner: 30th Dec 2009 - 12:41 GMT
i live in osceolamills pa i found a milk bottle from harbisons centenial 1965 and was curious where the bottle came from im interested in ag. history
Tom Potts: 14th May 2010 - 16:00 GMT
To Ed Plowman
Ron Reeves: 17th May 2010 - 02:41 GMT
I lived on Adama Ave., a block from where the harbison wagons were repaired and repainted, that maroon and cream color with the gold trim around them and on the way to school, the Marshall School on Griscom Street, and I used to walk home from there, and circle past the Dairy on Torresdale Ave., and look inside to see what was going on. Mom used to send me there to buy real cream to make cakes. growing up in the late 40's and 50's are cherished memories for me....
Charles Mann: 28th May 2010 - 22:32 GMT
In the mid-1940s we lived at 3920 Coral Street near the railroad footbridge at the end of Wheatsheaf Avenue and then we moved across the alley to 3917 Arcadia Street sometime in the late-1940s. The Harbison milk bottle was a landmark we could always see just beyond the roofline of North Catholic High School. I attended George L. Horn Elementary School at Frankford and Castor Avenues, Harding Junior High School on Torresdale Avenue, and eventually went to Frankford High School. I clearly remember the milkman having a horse-drawn wagon with rubber tires like a car would have. Do I remember this correctly? I have so many memories of growing up in lower Frankford just south of the Frankford Creek, which often flooded before they built concrete flood barriers to control the water. Anyone who wants to talk more about the old neighborhood can e-mail me at email@example.com. Let's reminisce and clarify old memories.
JJ from the alley way: 3rd Jun 2010 - 19:37 GMT
Honey: 3rd Jun 2010 - 23:32 GMT
I used to live at 2080 E Susquehanna Ave back in the 60's. As a kid I used to hang around with other kids and enjoyd visiting Harbison's Dairy. The pic of the milk bottle brings back so many memories. I love reading all of the comments. Isn't it funny how something like the milk bottle meant very little to us as kids now tugs at our heart strings as adults.
Norman Frank Winters: 28th Jun 2010 - 12:37 GMT
I was wondering who the 'Harbison' brothers were, names, etc. As a very little boy on Dreer St., I went into business making snowballs. My recipe was to slam a chunk of ice on the ground, put the pieces into a paper cup and add soda. At 8 yrs old, it seemed like a perfectly good idea. My cardboard box store across from Harbison's front door didn't seem to generate a lot of business (??) but every day that my box was open for business, the two gentleman from the office, identified to me by my dad as the Harbison brothers, ALWAYS stopped to buy one of my not-to-marketable snowcone inventions. Although they did not actually take the snowcones, they bought one every time and that was a very happy high point of my childhood (and source of candy). They were really super nice guys. Do you know who they were.
anon (pool-71-124-105-73.chi01.dsl-w.verizon.net): 4th Aug 2010 - 17:34 GMT
My dad was also a "milkman" at Harbisons Dairy in Philadelphia in the 1950's, working out of Kensignton. I remember a couple of tourists asking one day if they could take a picture of my dad with the horse and wagon. We thought it was odd that someone would want such a photo. I believe that Harbisons was the last company to take the horses and wagons off of the street - switched to trucks. I now wish that I had a black and white photo of the horses(s) and wagon(s). ]
Small world. I met an gentleman wearing a Phillies ball cap at the Louisville Slugger Baseball Museum in Louisville, Kentucky last year (2009). He talked about Richie Ashburn and of all things his father delivering milk via horse and wagon for Harisons Dairy in Phillie.
I remember one day when my dad was home for lunch hearing a bloold curdling scream outside. Across the street poor Chris K. was sitting on his front step preparing to eat an apple and the horse pulled the wagon onto the sidewalk and was trying to get the apple out little Chris' hand. Chris did not much like this but it was quite funny.
Howell Mason Epperly: 15th Aug 2010 - 19:41 GMT
I arrived in Philadelphia when I was seven. We were from Virginia. Dad was to start Vet School at the U. of Penn. that Fall. My first school was Harrington Grade School. We lived at 5237 Pentridge Street and I think it was between 52nd and 53rd street or between 53rd and 54th street. I remember our milk being delivered mild by a horse drawn wagon. I cannot remember the brand of milk, but would like to know. Sometime during the four years we were there -1959 to 1954, the wagon change to a truck. I walked to school at Harrington Grade school which was on Baltimore Ave (I think). Our neighbor on one side of our "row" house was a street car conductor. On the other side was a Breyers ice cream delivery person. Lots of free ice cream.
Does anyone remember what company was delivering milk by horse on Pentridge Street?
Bruce Mundorf: 29th Sep 2010 - 21:26 GMT
I lived on the 2200 block Coral Street from 1960 to 1968. My Aunt lived at 2056 Coral Street for years before and after. Before we moved to Coral Street, we lived with my grandparents on Howard Street. I remember the milk wagons delivering to my Grandmother's house. My cousin Michelle and I used to take apples to the little blacksmith building on Dreer? Street. The blacksmith, usually, stopped what he was doing; took out a pocket knife, cut the apples in half, and, in a serious voice, reminded us to, "Bend your fingers back so he can eat it off your palm!"
During the warmer months, sometimes, we found small chunks of "Dry Ice" on the street. We'd use newspaper or something to hold it until we could get a cup or bowl from my Aunt Marion's house; fill it with water, drop in the "Dry Ice," and then watch the "magic smoke" bubble up furiously.
As it turned out, my wife's Aunt Hilda and Uncle Bob, owned a small candy shop at the corner of Coral and Susquehanna during the late '50s-early 60's. I went to Wm. F. Miller School on Howard Street across from Norris Square.
Ginny Egan Befort: 29th Sep 2010 - 23:41 GMT
I lived at Martha and Dauphin Sts. Went to Hackett, Penn Treaty, and Kensington High School. Also lived in Fishtown on Earl St. I live in Louiaiana now, but sure do miss the old neighborhood at times. Whenever I go home for a visit, I get a cheesesteak on the way to my stpmoms house in Mayfair. Hi Thom Cartmell
SFC THOM CARTMELL, US ARMY RET: 18th Oct 2010 - 01:17 GMT
Hey Tom Potts: Some How I remember Your Name. When did You attend Hackett. I attended from 1949 to 1955 then went on to Penn Treaty. Also My Brother went to Boot Camp Bainbridge USN with a Tommy Potts. Could You be Him. He is 5 years older then I. He went to Bainbridge 1955. He retired in 1975 USN PO1 Thanx, SFC Thom Cartmell, US Army, Airborne, Retired
SFC THOM CARTMELL, US ARMY RET: 18th Oct 2010 - 01:27 GMT
HEY BRUCE MUNDORF: Yea, I remember the Black Smith on Dreer Street too. I used to love to watch him when I was a Youngster in the 50's. I used to love to see him ride 2 or 3 horses back to Harbisons. He was a Nice Man. SFC THOM CARTMELL, US Army, Airborne, Retired
anna: 29th Oct 2010 - 13:05 GMT
to any one
anon (c-76-98-238-174.hsd1.pa.comcast.net): 11th Nov 2010 - 00:39 GMT
I HAVE GLAS BOTTLES FROM THIS COMPANY. JUST GOT THEM. ANYONE LOOKING FOR THEM?
firstname.lastname@example.org: 22nd Nov 2010 - 18:21 GMT
Lived in West Oaklane @6500 N Uber St and many fond memories of Harbinson's horse and wagons. In fact have a wood and steel milk box that held 6 of the product for the milkman. If anyone's interested. Don't have much room anymore for all these sentimental items so make me an offer!!!!!!
Joe the Milkman's son.: 30th Dec 2010 - 02:05 GMT
In the 50's to the late 60's the chain of command was; Robert J Harbison (Jr) I think, his sons Robert J the 3rd and William. A third son Thomas owned car dealerships in Morrisville Pa and Abington Pa. The dairy was then bought by Southland Corp (7 Eleven). The Harbison's were basically figureheads until the dairy and Southland disappeared.
nkford kid: 12th Jan 2011 - 22:23 GMT
I grew up in frankford in the 40s &50s. My grandfather was a Harbisons milkman that had retired in the mid 40s and He always remarked hoe well the Harbison Family treated their employes. I saw several mentions of the Hackett school. I was a Philly Fireman for 32 yrs and attended the hackett fire I may be wrong but I thought it was in 70 or 71 . It was fully involved with fire when we got there, I was in charge of Eng 29 from 4th and Girard and were called in on the 2nd alarm.
email@example.com: 2/1/2011: 2nd Feb 2011 - 21:42 GMT
My family owned Wackes & Son Dairy in Phila. I think they sold to Turner & Wescott. I was born in Jan during WW11. It was a snow storm and no cars were running. My grandfather hitched up one of the horses to an old milk wagon and took my mother to the hospital. My cousin has a picture of my grandfather with his horse and milk wagon-do not know what year. They sold the business in early 50's or before. When did they begin to use bottles? I have looked for years for a Wackes bottle.
firstname.lastname@example.org: 2/1/2011: 2nd Feb 2011 - 21:50 GMT
ok, I just read that wackes dairy was sold to harbison first. Good info from Anna!
frankford kid: 9th Feb 2011 - 16:45 GMT
does anybody know what year harbison first started delivery or opened for business ????
Jim Clark: 23rd Mar 2011 - 18:32 GMT
My dad worked for one of the competitors. At first it was Aristocrat/Scott Powell, then Foremost, then Martin's Century Farms. He delivered door to door. I can remember his horse and wagon and then they got those terrific Divco trucks. Those Divco's would clear a path for the snow plows! Wonderful memories. Being a milkman was the only full time job my dad ever had.
Gene Augustin: 21st Apr 2011 - 08:53 GMT
I am now 80. When I was about 8 I was a model and posed for a Harbison's calendar (around 1937). I am looking for any information or archive that might have a copy.
anon (host.195.135.sulanet.net): 20th Jun 2011 - 22:28 GMT
HEY FRANKFORD KID.
WHAT YEARS DID YOU ATTEND THE HACKETT SCHOOL. I WENT FROM 1949-1955. MRS KLAUS WAS MY 1ST GRADE TEACHER. MISS, HECK, MISS KASSAROY, MRS KARE, MISS DEAVER, MRS TRACY, MRS HENERY ETC ETC DROP A LINE
email@example.com SFC THOM CARTMELL, US ARMY AIRBORNE RETIRED.
js: 17th Jul 2011 - 13:14 GMT
js: 17th Jul 2011 - 13:15 GMT
ps, if you do have a pic, and if it's possible, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
anon (pool-184-18-161-108.ftwy.in.frontiernet.net): 26th Jul 2011 - 13:02 GMT
GinnyEgan, that's a name I haven't heard for a long long time, I now live in Fort Wayne, Indiana, just returned from Philly for a funeral. I really don't miss Philly until I go "home" and it will always be home.
Cindy Grugan: 23rd Aug 2011 - 22:06 GMT
I went to Hackett from 1965 to 1971 does anyone have any photos or year book pictures you can e-mail me at email@example.com..thanks
Somyos Sundaravibhat(Sonny): 5th Sep 2011 - 09:23 GMT
I was a computer operator for Harbison Dairy in early 70's, and worked there for almost 10 years.At that time Harbison Dairy was subsidary of Southland Corp.
anon (adsl-70-153-175-99.shv.bellsouth.net): 21st Oct 2011 - 17:56 GMT
Hey anon. I think we must have been in the same class at Hackett. Ginny Egan Befort
EARL MILLER: 18th Feb 2012 - 21:24 GMT
TO GINNY EGAN BEFORT OR ANON,
HEY EARL MILLER: 24th Feb 2012 - 20:32 GMT
DO YOU HAVE RED HAIR. Your Father was a Long Shore-man. You and I used to Hang together years ago. Tom Cartmell I lived on Susquehanna. I remember meeting your cousin for the first time and he was drinking beer in an a Car Lot. Can't remember his name. DO YOU REMEMBER ME?? We hung at Newts together too. I know Ginny very well we are in touch.
HEY EARL MILLER: 24th Feb 2012 - 20:34 GMT
I WILL TRY TO WRITE YOU ON YOUR EMAIL
I changed my name from Tom (Thomas) to just plain THOM legally changed when I was living in Texas
Ginny Egan Befort: 25th Feb 2012 - 02:23 GMT
To Earl Miller. I went to Hackett from 1948-1953. What year did you graduate from there?
EARL MILLER: 25th Feb 2012 - 20:10 GMT
TO GINNY EGAN.IDID;NT GET THERE UNTIL THE 4TH. OR 5TH. GRADE.I THINK I GRADUATED EITHER 53 OR 54 BECAUSE I GRADUATED FROM PENN TREATY IN 57 AND WENT ON TO MASTBAUM.WHO WERE SOME OF THE KIDS YOU KNEW IN SCHOOL OR THE 'HOOD'? E-MAIL ME AT JOESEMPERFI@YAHOO.COM
Misty: 28th Apr 2012 - 21:17 GMT
is anyone interested in purchasing galvenized steel and wood milk crates from this place. I purchased some from an estate auction. one has 6 half gallon unmarked milk bottles and the other has 12 quart size unmarked milk bottles in it.
Misty: 29th Apr 2012 - 16:22 GMT
anyone interested in vintage milk crates or bottles from harbison's email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
M. Harbison : 13th Jun 2012 - 15:51 GMT
My family owned the Harbison Dairies and then sold to Southland corp. It was started by my great-great grandparents, Robert J. and Isabella G. Harbison. My great grandfather was Elias G. Harbison, second son of Robert and Isabella. I have been trying to find a Harbison Dairy milk bottle for a long time without success. If anyone has a bottle or know of where I can get one, please contact me at email@example.com
JoAnne: 22nd Jul 2012 - 20:42 GMT
I remember when I was a little girl, the corner store used to carry some of the ice cream treats made by Harbison. The one that I will always remember is the Christmas Tree Ice cream coconut ones. The had a carboard cone covering the tree-shaped ice cream that was coated in coconut and it was dark green with ornaments printed on it. The base was made of green plastic. They were so delicate and delicious. My mom and I both loved them and then all of a sudden they were gone. Wish I had one right now. Ah, the good old days...lol CADYANNE@aol.com
EARL MILLER: 8th Aug 2012 - 05:34 GMT
JOANNE,WHERE WAS THIS STORE LOCATED AT?WAS IT AROUND ABIGAL STREET BY HARBINSON;S,OR ON FRONT STREET
john bojaciuk: 4th Sep 2012 - 00:47 GMT
I went to hackett school old one and new i saw the fire does anyone have any pictures of the old hackett school or our classmates 1967 to 73 my e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org Thank u john
Charlie Agnew: 3rd Oct 2012 - 20:22 GMT
Formerly a Kenso Now in Florida.
In high school, I dated Carol Patterson whose Dad was foreman for the dairy. He arranged a tour of the dairy.
Charlie at email@example.com
Lynda (Hipple) Forsythe 10/23/12: 23rd Oct 2012 - 18:11 GMT
My Dad grew up in Frankford,Philadelphia. He lived on Church st with 6 sisters and 1 brother, Bill. Joe Hipple,he died in WWII at Iwo Jima. I suppose there is no one on here that would remember him? He would be 94 today. I was 2 mths old at the time.
J. M. : 26th Feb 2013 - 02:29 GMT
My wifes grandmother just passed away, while going through some of the old photos I found a picture of her husbands Harbisons Milk wagon and horse. They lived near B st and Allegheny ave. and owned a candy shop. He was Ed Sharp and the horse was named Daisy.
Ivan: 27th Feb 2013 - 11:30 GMT
To M. Harbison,
Don van Krieken: 5th Mar 2013 - 20:01 GMT
Has anyone ever seen a Wackes Dairy bottle. I would be interested or was there ever such a bottle made. My Understanding was this Dairy may have been sold to Harbinson Dairy, however it may have also been sold to Turner & Wescott not sure which is true
anon (ersatzbc1.temple.edu): 20th Mar 2013 - 12:00 GMT
I have a metal milk bottle from Harbison.....my mother painted it years and years ago and used it for an umbrella stand
Cathy Haussmann McHugh: 29th Apr 2013 - 14:58 GMT
My father, Frank, was also a Harbison milkman. He too drove a milk wagon with a horse named Timmy.
Eddie E: 12th Jul 2013 - 11:00 GMT
I remember seing and climbing a milk bottle tower at Goodman and Ontario where Harbison also had a Milk Bottle. Any one have pictures of that Bottle???
Eddie E: 12th Jul 2013 - 20:55 GMT
I grew up at 11th and Ontario Street in Philadelphia and there was also a Harbison Milk Bottle water tower in our neighborhood too. The address waa 3300 Old York Road. When Temple wanted to build there afteer they closed there was a fight for the rights of that property between the School Board and Temple.....Temple lost and they built Bethune school on that property. Its almost as if it did not exist. There are no pictures of the Milk Bottle there nor pictures of the dairy. Searched Google to no avail. If anyone haVE ANY INFORMATION plese email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kevin from Frankford Avenue: 12th Jul 2013 - 21:27 GMT
Do you remember the sweet smell of milk "brewing" as you neared the plant? My neighbor worked there in bookkeeping and took my two brothers and I over for an informal tour and free bottle of milk (I think she paid for it though). The plant is gone, the neighbor and one of my brothers has died and all we have left... is the momory. If anyone is interested, and if it is still there - how about trying to buy that water tower milk bottle from the owner and restoring it for display in the city? Write me at "email@example.com".
Stan Eschlebaum: 30th Jul 2013 - 09:18 GMT
I lived on Lewis st near Harbison dairy but when I had my front bow window replaced I found an old Dolfinger milk bottle in the cracks. Was Dolfinger a part of Harbison Dairies?
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