Sunday, May 19, 2013

Making genealogy research come alive...

1946: Crystal Dairy at 1803 Commercial Drive,
Vancouver BC.
(from the Vancouver Archives public domain online)
I happened across this photo while bumbling around online on Friday evening.
I Googled the address and lo and behold, it's still there, intact.
Of course, it isn't a dairy anymore, as Crystal Dairy was taken over by Palm Dairies in the 1950s, and they in turn were swallowed up by Dairyland.

Robert and I drove there on Sat May 18 2013 to see the building.
The beautiful tile is still there! I found this quite amazing.
It's now inhabited by Wonderbucks, a home decor store.

Here is a closeup from 1946.
There was an ice cream parlour in the corner.
Even the apartment building further past the dairy is still there.

Why am I so interested in Cyrstal Dairy?
Well, my paternal Grandpa, JG Williams worked here for 8 years, from 1946 - 1954, when the horse drawn vehicles were converted to a truck operation. Grandpa took care of the horses and was known as a Night Barn Man. I've gathered this information from a letter of recommendation, kept by my Grandma for years and passed on to my Dad. (see below)

My Dad, Jack Williams, took this photo in the 1950s.
It shows Grandpa John in the stall of the Crystal Dairy, in the back of the building.
His younger children are at the left of the photo: Dennis, Ruth and Bobby.

My Dad even took a closeup of the harnesses.
He also loved horses.

I really can't quite imagine HORSES WITH CARTS delivering milk bottles in Vancouver in the 1950's, can YOU? It wasn't that long ago! It was only a few years before I was born!

And here are the horse carts, lined up. You can see the Crystal Dairy logo if you click on the photo.
It looks like the carts have rubber wheels. Whew.
Now my genealogy research is coming alive with letters and photos, and visiting the original buildings in real life. What a fascinating piece of my past!
By Loretta Houben


Maxine Adam said...

Lovely story and Photos. Do you know route of dairy? I lived in East 61st ave from 1946 to 1952...I can't remember how our milk was delivered.

Loretta said...

Thanks for stopping by, Maxine! No I don't know the route of the dairy. This was way before my time!