Millside Farms Remembered by Karen Ruza

Millside Farms, Riverside, NJ   message side

Johnny Ola, a reader who has before left several comments and observations about Millside Farms, has given those of us interested in Millside Farms a wonderful gift by providing the link below to “Millside Farms Remembered” by Karen Ruza, a 7-page PDF with text and photos.

Millside Farms ad, The New Era, 1939 50th Anniversary Issue

Old posts and comments often get buried back within this website so I highlight this recent one along with a couple of dozen others here so they are easier to find.

See also, these two clippings from our online archive of The New Era:
short history of Millside Farms from 1939 and a 1934 newspaper ad.

Please know that we would like to post more accounts of things that aren’t there anymore – local history topics such as Millside Farms, Riverside’s Watchcase Bldg., Cinnaminson Bank, Cinnaminson’s Children’s Home, among others, plus any of Riverton’s many clubs and civic and religious institutions, even topics about Philadelphia and the Jersey Shore.

Speaking of milk bottles… here are a few from my personal collection.

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Francis “Franny” Cole August 2010

See more about Cole Dairy in the November 2010 issue of the Gaslight News. Follow links below to download a video interview in three parts, about 30 minutes total, with Franny Cole.

Mr. Francis Cole Remembers Cole Dairy Part 1Part 2Part 3.

We invite your comments and encourage you to add what you know of the history of any of these local milk suppliers. -JMc

added 9/14/2019: Well, that didn’t take long! A few folks checked in with their recollections of Millside Farms.

Matt Mlynarczyk writes:
Hello John,
Saw the Millside Farms story on the HSR website and thought I’d forward you a few pics to post from my collection.

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Ok… now I’m just jealous. Those are some choice collectibles. -JMc

Don Ulmer, another frequent flyer here, contributes this:
Early thirties we concluded a song sang in grade school; “My Garden State. We’ll sing thy praises evermore. I want to live and die in dear old Jersey on the blue Atlantic shore.” Your superb collage validates these lyrics.

Three readers commented on Facebook:

Marilyn Hahle writes: We (went) there for class trips. Also, when our family got together we would go there for ice cream and order a “Lost Weekend” which was a huge sundae which we all shared.

Michael Gilbert wants to know: …where was it located? (see below*)

Deb Hammond reminds us: September 28 is Delran History Day. Stop by 900 Chester Avenue between 11-4 browse our collection. From 12-2pm will have appraisals. Enter your name for chance to win Ancestry DNA kit.

*Regarding the location – Delran Historical Society shows a map with hiistorical sites here. I get that the highway shown in the lower right of the postcard was Route 25, now Route 130, but I can’t get my bearings on the placement of the farm. Was it where Delran’s Millside Shopping Center is now or was it on the other side of the highway? And why do all of the product containers credit a Riverside location instead of Delran, as Ms. Ruzo cites in her article?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Millside Farms sign – Evie Moorhouse

added 9/15/2019:

When Evie Berlin Moorhouse mentioned on Facebook that she has the Millside Farm sign found after the fire I replied and asked for a photo. She obliged with the photo at right.

Evie writes: The sign is about 3×5 feet made of pressed board. As a toddler I lived around the block from the farm in Delran. We would walk to see the cows often.

Later we moved to Cinnaminson. Went to Millside for birthdays and class trips. Best ice cream sundaes ever!

After the fire I lived in Millside Manor Apts. for a while. So many changes to that memorable property. Great local history.

Added 1/13/21:

Fred Pfeffer clears up the Rverside/Delran location:
Millside Farms was on the opposite side of the highway of Millside shopping center. The shopping center got its name from the farm. The shopping center used to be a pasture for the cows. And the reason the products had a Riverside address is because there was no Delran Post Office back then. The Bridgeboro section of Delran had a post office and if you lived in that area your mail was delivered to Bridgeboro N.J. The rest of Delran went through the Riverside post office.

Added 7/5/2021: A recent Facebook post made by Rick Grenda, Admin for the About South Jersey group, and shared to our Facebook page, elicited a number of comments that we’d like to make part of this record.

Kathleen McDermott Anderson
My Mom worked at Millside Dairy Bar. Lots of wonderful memories!

Kate Hickey
My mom worked at the Millside Farms when she was a teen!!!

Kathy Richardson Barker
I loved going there!

Marilyn Hahle
Millside Farms was one of my favorite class trips when I attended Riverton Public School. The Dairy Bar ice cream was delicious. When our cousins would visit we would always go there. They had a special sundae called a Lost Weekend. Even with 11 of us it was a delicious but huge amount of ice cream with all of the toppings.

Jean Miersch
Marilyn Hahle – I went there too. I have not thought about that in many years. I don’t remember this, but my dad once told me that at one time people had to wait sometimes for the dairy cows to cross Rt. 130 there.

Alice Doerr Groome
Jean Miersch – twice a day!

Sandra Cucugliello
The best place to go on date night!! Do I remember right that the ice cream was not in “scoops”?

Jerry Wakeham
Sandra Cucugliello yup they were in cubes. Loved them

Alice Doerr Groome
They used to stop traffic twice a day on Route 130 to get the cows to pasture and back again.

Chuck C Cattell
Alice Doerr Groome , my father told this story to me many times.

Alice Doerr Groome
Chuck C Cattell – I don’t know when they stopped doing this, but I know it happened in the 50s and maybe the early 60s.

Margaret Roedig-Wark
My father worked there as a delivery man door to door. Was able to put three girls through catholic school in the 50’s and early 60’s.

Christine Roedig Gentile
Margaret Roedig-Wark – do you have any pictures of Pop Pop in uniform?

Added 9/24/2020: We were very gratified to hear this comment left by a descendant of the founders of Millside Farms.

As the grandson and great-grandson of the founders of Millside Farms, it is wonderful to see these cherished artifacts from the farm and dairy bar as well as to read about fond memories of time spent there. While Millside Farms was gone before I was born, it was a source of great pride for my grandparents and my mom. They would be overjoyed knowing how much it still means to those who remember it. Thank you. Best, Cory Laslocky

Added 12/21/2022: I love it when a random google search query lands a person here, and they find something that sparks a memory. Thank you to Don Workman for this comment. Say “hi” to Don.

wow we use to live at the farm on the dirt lane that led out to chester ave,dad & my uncle worked for the farm ,was a wonderful time .i guess 1958 -59,old woody windsor lived on the corner ,across the street were the- levengoods -hunsickers -workmans -freemans-& a black family- we all played together, thay had a lot of turkeys back then would sled down the big hill in winter time & swim in the stream& ponds , we even met sally star there a few times

Ok, now we’d really like to see a photo of Pop-Pop in a Millside Farms uniform. Or anybody who has a family photo related to Millside.

Thank you to all who contributed to this post. Come back anytime. -JMc


ANNOUNCING: “Back in Time” returns in Oct. and we added 38th IMAGE category

I recently received the note below from my bud, Will Valentino, of Palmyra Historical & Cultural Society.

Hope you had a great summer. ! Attaching a photo for your blog of a MILLSIDE FARMS half pint bottle I dug in my back yard in 2002 when I first moved here. Please let your readers know that BACK IN TIME , will return to THE POSITIVE PRESS in October after a brief summer sabbatical!

millside creamtopThe Millside Farms bottle is featured in the article which discusses historical artifacts found in your backyard and underfoot ! The half pint “cream top ” bottle is date / patented March 3, 1925! Probably not the healthiest of beverages chosen on a summer day to cool off I would think !

Look for the October issue of THE POSITIVE PRESS around October 8th in your mailboxes, at local stores and on line !

Back in Time graphic

Umm… I think autumn has arrived, Will. At least the leaves in Riverton think it has.

Speaking of making plugs for friends, check out the new Delaware River Bridge/ Benjamin Franklin Bridge category on our IMAGES page.

There you will find showcased 30 images related to that familiar span and a heart-warming story by a collector who tells of his connection to the bridge in A Small Metal Object Links Father and Son to an Event and Ignites a Passion for History.

Maybe you have a connection to the bridge, too. – JMc

Let’s do this more often.

HSR Board Members Mrs. Cheryl Smekal (left) and Mrs. Nancy Hall (right) make displays ready for our Museum-for-a-Day

A longer entry follows than most, but it’s been awhile and I have some catching up to do.

A week ago Saturday (Dec. 3) evening from 4-9 p.m. the Historical Society set up shop at the New Leaf for a one day only exhibition of seldom seen treasures from its collections and the consensus among visitors was, “You should do this more often.” People stopping by during their Library sponsored six-stop Candlelight House Tour examined the various displays and often left us with as much information as they took away.

Daniel Goffredo as scanned and restored
I set up my laptop to run the Riverton Veterans Honor Roll Album which reminded our hostess, Mrs. Phyllis Rodgers to loan me a copy of her father’s service photo.

One woman who came through our Museum-for-a-Day found some vintage postcard reproductions that evoked a memory for her, and she paused by my laptop to look at the veterans’ photos, some of whom she knew.

McDermott Bros L-R – Bill, Paul Carl
The conversation drifted to Irish Row when we came to the photos of the McDermott brothers. (I only recently obtained these photos of Carl and his two late brothers when he answered our website appeal asking for veterans’ photos)

I have since updated the Riverton Veterans  Honor Roll Album to include the names added this past Veterans Day and scanned in several more photos of vets. If you can help by adding a photo or clipping to go with any name on the Memorial please contact me so that we can add it to the online album. Regular visitors will recall that eligibility for inclusion on the Honor Roll now reads:

Any present or former resident of the Borough of Riverton, living or deceased, who served on active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States of America, during a time of war, is eligible to have their name placed on the memorial.

Charles Miller Biddle Residence, 207 Bank Ave., Riverton, NJ courtesy
Charles Miller Biddle Residence, 207 Bank Ave., Riverton, NJ courtesy

She casually mentioned that her mother had been a house maid for the Biddle household and that she had lived on Cinnaminson Street.

I showed her some of Joseph Yearly’s photos of Riverton’s own Irish Row stored on my computer and she became very animated, adding a running commentary. She pointed out people and places she knew in Mr. Yearly’s photos. I will have to get them posted after the New Year. We may hear some more from a Riverton Irish maid’s perspective in an upcoming post when the woman locates some of her late mother’s possessions.

Ezra Lippincott wedding party, Niagara Falls 1862

HSR Board Member Mrs. Nancy Hall is a granddaughter to Ezra Lippincott, one of Riverton’s founders. She brought a treasured family photo of granddad’s wedding party at Niagara Falls in 1892 to display.

Later at home, I scanned it and did some restoration on it, but I was a nervous wreck working on a glass photograph. The result is at left. Where are all the tourists and souvenir stands?

display of local antique bottles

Mr. Bill Hall, Nancy’s husband, related a story about his days selling Millside Farms milk. It seems that the creamtop bottles with many of us are familiar were not just a novelty but also served as a salesman’s pitch in the days before homogenized milk.

After witnessing Bill beat up some fresh real whipped cream from the few tablespoons of high-octane milkfat which he had poured of from the top of that cleverly designed bottle, the lady of the house was often convinced to try his product.

former location of Cole Dairy raw milk depot at 501 Main, three Cole bottles in foreground

The milk bottle display must have prompted Mrs. Helen Mack to ask about buying a copy of the remarkable interview we did with Mr. Francis Cole last year about his experiences as a young man working in his family’s raw milk business at 5th and Main right in Riverton during the 1930s.

I had none for sale, but she did motivate me to post the video which Mr. Cole so graciously recorded with us in August 2010, partly because it so perfectly illustrates why the oral histories of Riverton’s people are part of what makes Riverton’s history.

Francis “Franny” Cole August 2010

You can see the November 2010 Gaslight_News article about the interview, but until now I had difficulty posting the huge video file. So here it is in three parts, about 30 minutes total.  Mr. Francis Cole Remembers Cole Dairy Part 1, Part 2, Part 3. If you would like to leave a comment about Franny’s interview, I’ll be sure that he gets to see it.

Another woman visitor has her ancestor’s Civil War diaries and wants to know if the Society is interested and would we take care of them? WOULD WE? I pointed her toward Gerald and am hopeful that we can connect with her again.

Since the nation is observing the  Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War, the HSR has made it a goal to try to document Riverton’s role in that conflict. Can any family historians out there with Riverton roots help with supplying individuals’ names, anecdotes, documents, etc. which might help us reconstruct what must have been varied responses of citizens? We are interested in Civil War veterans, of course, but also want to research the actions of women, Quakers, and how various groups and the business community contributed to the war effort.

One man spent at least two hours carefully examining the vintage postcard reproduction prints that we brought in to sell. Like a kid in a candy store, he pored over nearly every image category in the boxes until he settled on a handful of pictures to buy. During lulls in the museum traffic I went over and talked with him about his selections. He had a story about every picture.

What is it about these old photos and artifacts which induces us to reminisce and wax nostalgic? The times to which we look back may not be more comfortable or safer than now, but being in the past, at least they are known.  The recollections that I saw seemed more wistful and pleasurable and not melancholy, even though the holiday season can also a time for reflection and remembering those whom we miss.

At one point I heard Bryan Rodgers say emphatically, “I want it back,” as he gestured toward what was in his hand.

I looked at him puzzled since he obviously already had it, but he went on to explain.

“I want back what is in the picture – the town’s train station.”

Riverton, NJ PRR Station late1930s
Now I get it. Yeah, I know. Wouldn’t that have made a great permanent museum.  I do get jealous when I see that the Riverside and Moorestown stations have survived. Bryan and Gerald and I all agreed that it would be cool for Riverton to have an old train depot like those towns, and we wondered what happened to it.

Later, at home I consulted Betty, as I always do on such matters, and opened my file of Gaslight Newsback issues. The waaay back issues.

There on page 3 of the May 1980 issue was another one of Betty Hahle’s long-running and informative”Yesterday” columns. The answer is there if you care to look.

Business District of Palmyra, N.J., Broadway Theater marquee at left

In it, our first and only official Riverton Town Historian, the late Betty B. Hahle, also describes the Broadway Theater in Palmyra since the Society had recently shown the Romance of Riverton film to a capacity crowd at the Porch Club.

There are many more pearls of wisdom and historic information hidden away in those back issues. If there is interest among readers we can post more issues, perhaps scanned with some word recognition software so that readers can search the contents. What do you think?

The problems and dilemmas of historic preservation are not confined to Riverton, nor were they concluded decades ago. One person’s redevelopment and renewal is another’s demolition of culture and tradition; one’s preservation is another’s impeding modernization and dwelling on the past. It’s finding a balance which can prove elusive, and decisions once made may be regretted later. Staying informed about the history of one’s community is a step in the right direction.

Say, I really do wish we could do this more often.  – John McCormick, Gaslight News editor

P.S. I’ll have many more photos of our Museum-for-a-Day displays posted shortly under the Programs & Events section.  As always, leave a comment, a question, or correct an error that you find.