Millers Dairy Milk Glass Bottle, Santa Cruz California, 1926.

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Millers Dairy Milk Glass Bottle, Santa Cruz California, 1926. 

 

Charles C. Miller Arrived In 1910 From Cleveland with His Young Wife Catherine. They Relocated To Santa Cruz California for the reason that she suffered from asthma and needed the dry gentle climate of the Golden State. Charles got a job as foreman of the lemon pickers with the Lemon Grove Fruit Growers Association. Then he worked for the Good Dairy on North Avenue, then for a nearby nursery until a worker went berserk and tried to kill him with an axe. That did it. He hired on at Sonka Bros’ General Merchandise as a clerk and delivery man.

By World War I, Lemon Grove was “a sea of lemon trees.” Folks raised fruits and vegetables and kept chickens, geese, rabbits and cows. Catherine Miller got a cow to save the shopping trip, often on foot, down the hill from their Golden Avenue home, across the train tracks to Sonka Bros’ Store on Main Street and back again. Her cow was prolific. There was more than enough milk every morning and evening for the five Miller kids (Florence, Hubert, Edward, Ralph and William).

You can see how great ideas evolve. Why not bottle and sell the pure, organic real deal to the neighbours? Charles added three more cows and Miller Dairy was Born, In The Year 1926.

Miller Dairy was the sole supplier of milk for school lunches in the Lemon Grove School District from 1926 into the late 1970s. In the 1960s the glass pint bottles were replaced with little, plastic-coated containers with flip-up spouts, and the quart and half-gallon bottles also gave way to plastic-coated containers in bright red with the familiar Miller Dairy logo and beaming sun face.

In the 1950s as the automobile altered modern life forever. The Millers instituted a drive-through pick-up window for milk, whipping cream, buttermilk, farmer cheese, sour cream, yoghurt, butter, ice cream and fresh local eggs.

The huge milk industry tied to agribusiness and supermarkets ultimately spelt doom for family dairies nationwide. Miller Dairy began closing in 1983. In 1984 the Lemon Grove City Council approved the plans of Westana Development Corp. to build 138 homes for $14 million on the dairy site. At the end of January 1985, the last of 300 cows were sent to a dairy near Chino, CA and the lone bull shipped to an uncertain fate on the U. S. -Mexico border.

Today, people enjoy living in the attractive single-family homes of “Miller’s Ranch,” with their pretty little gardens and well-kept streets, but many others remember the sight of cows heading for the milking barn at sundown, that familiar manure smell and the pleasant interaction with the Miller clan.

When the dairy closed, the brothers knew what was lost. The youngest, Bill, said, “It’s not like walking away from a corporate career with a gold watch. We’re part of our community, and when you work with animals you become attached to them, too.” (Reported by Karen O’Rourke, The Daily Californian, 02-05-1985.)

Item Code - GLA5C1372CAC

Width: 2 1/2"  Height: 5 1/2"  Depth: 2 1/2"  Weight: 287 g


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