UMHA Presents: Buehler Dairy Farm
Once hailed as the music capital of the country, Willow Grove could also have been known as the dairy capital of Eastern Montgomery County.
Welcome back to another installment of “Upper Moreland Historical Association Presents.”
The ongoing series will present a photo of an artifact showcased in the UMHA Archive Room, located in the Upper Moreland Township Building’s Lower Level.
Displayed in this room is an historical patchwork of collected souvenirs, memorabilia and every-day items representing a once daily way of life in Upper Moreland.
This week, Upper Moreland – Willow Grove Patch asks, “Got Milk?”
Buehler Dairy Farm
So, Got milk?
Well, if you lived in Upper Moreland in the mid-1900s, you could have gotten yourself a warm-off-the-udder fresh glass right in your backyard.
“The whole northern part of the township was farms,” Joe Thomas, UMHA president emeritus, said in a recent Patch visit to the archive room.
In a recent visit to the UMHA archive room, Thomas brought out a weatherworn sign and a chipped, glass quart milk bottle. Both artifacts were taken from the old site of the Buehler Dairy Farm.
These artifacts were found and donated by the Upper Moreland Parks and Recreation, when the department converted the dairy farm site to the trails, park and department utility site.
According to “A Synopsis of the History of Moreland Township and Willow Grove,” written by Thomas, and found on the UMHA website, farming was a viable part of the local economy by the time of the Revolutionary War.
“The latter half of the 19th century saw a number of dairy farms established in and around Willow Grove,” reads the synopsis.
Among the largest of these dairy farms:
- Willow Ridge Dairy
- Overlook Farm Dairy
- Silver Lake Farm Dairy (where Thunderbird Bowling Lanes and the Willow Lake Assisted Living home – it’s really a pond, not a lake)
- Willow Grove Dairy
- J. C. Stuckert Dairy
According to the synopsis, Buehler Dairy Farm was a viable source for fresh milk and other dairy products by the mid-1900s.
It seems that with all these dairy farms in the Willow Grove area, the farmers decided to get together and form a “Farmers’ Cooperative Creamery” in 1872. The creamery’s facility was built on Davisville Road, near the current Willow Grove Train Station site, where Kermp Florist stands today.
Its purpose was to process the milk from these local dairies, utilizing the train station’s proximity for distributing the milk products to such places as Philadelphia.
Later, this creamery would be renamed “Triebel’s Creamery.”
As a side note: According to the synopsis, aside from farming, one of the most important grain products produced in southern Pennsylvania in the late 1700s was whiskey.
“Every fifth or sixth farm was reported to have had its copper kettle,” reads the synopsis. “Whiskey was used to barter for other commodities.”
Can’t get enough Upper Moreland History?
The Upper Moreland Historical Association Archive Room, located in the lower level of the township building, is open on Thursdays from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Special appointments can also be made by calling 215-657-2775. For more information, visit http://www.umha.com/.
Check Patch back again for more “UMHA Presents”.