Reflections: Remembering Riverside Dairy


By Evelyn Long - Contributing Columnist

Growing up on the farm, I really disliked milk and rarely drank it but I loved the chocolate milk we could buy for two or three cents in the school cafeteria at lunchtime. That milk was made and delivered by Riverside Dairy, the only retail dairy business in Cardington that I can find in my research.

The Riverside Dairy, named because the farm of owners and dairy founders Paul and Ada Maxwell, was bordered by the Olentangy River, had its begin-ning right after World War I in 1919.

The dairy stressed modernization as they gave their milk customers assurance of completely safe handling of milk from cows to bottles.

Riverside was the first dairy in the county to pasteurize milk and later added equipment to homogenize milk.

At one time, the Maxwells purchased milk from 50 nearby farms and the first milk suppliers to the dairy were Joseph Mosher and Roland Davis.

Cecil, son of Paul and Ada, said he learned to drive before the legal driving age by driving to the local Lockworth James farm to pick up cream. The dairy also bought cream from Mack Douce.

The first retail outlet in Cardington was the Jim Thomas Meat Market, located on the corner of South Marion and West Main Streets. At one time the dairy offered the delivery of milk both mornings and afternoons in Cardington. The first delivery wagons were horse-drawn.

For a period of time, the dairy delivered milk to all communities in the county except Iberia and Johnsville. They also packaged milk for dairy lunches in the county’s schools.

Peak employment by the dairy reached 20. When differences in cream content of milk was lessened, the Maxwells began the manufacturing of homemade ice cream. For many years, the dairy offered both pasteurized and homogenized milk, three grades of cream, chocolate milk, cottage cheese, butter, orange pineapple and orange juice drinks and eggs from the farm of GaNell Ullom, daughter of the elder Maxwells and sister of Cecil.

Cecil and his wife, Kathryn, purchased the business in 1951. Helping with its operation were the couple’s children, James, Jeanne, Janice and Janet. They continued its operation until they sold it in 1994 to Rob Lil, Country Caterer, Marion. The company has continued to use the same recipe in their ice cream.

I recall seeing those green and white delivery trucks making rounds in the village. I’m glad I was part of the era of Riverside Dairy — and that tasty chocolate milk, the only way I could get my milk nutrition in the “good old days.”

The Maxwells deeded 30 acres of their farm to Cardington Village, acreage that borders the Olentangy River. It is being developed into a recreational area, Maxwell Park, with picnic tables, fishing and a site for school field trips. Leaving a legend, the Maxwells continue to contribute to the Cardington community.

Cecil passed away in 2014, his wife, Kathryn, in 2010 and their daughter, Janet, in 2011.

80 years ago, 1938: George H. Kehrwecker, 87, a retired farmer, recalled watching the funeral train carrying Abraham Lincoln’s body as it passed through Cardington. Kehrwecker was born in a log cabin in Westfield Township. His parents, John and Mary, were natives of Germany.

70 years ago, 1948: Jacob Click, Milton Poorman, Howard Brackney, Harold Russell and Paul Smiley returned to Cardington after a 10-day deer hunting trip to Ontario, Canada. The men harvested three deer, a buck and two does.

60 years, 1958: Miss Anna Kehrwecker, the village’s oldest resident at 99 years, was given a party at the St. Paul Lutheran Church, Cardington.

By Evelyn Long

Contributing Columnist

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