Baldwinsville History Mystery: March 6, 2019
Question: This week’s photo of some buildings being demolished was taken in 1994. They were being removed to make room for another more modern building. Do you know anything about their previous life? What building was then erected there?
Last week’s answer: The two story concrete block structure seen in last week’s photo was built circa 1905 by the Baldwinsville Milk Products, Co., Inc., a milk producers cooperative. It was located at the D.L. & W. switching yard on the south side of East Genesee Street, east of the freight depot and slightly north of the end of Margaret Street.
Constructed of molded concrete block, the up-and-coming building material of the early 20th century, its purpose was also indicative of the changing times.
Dairy farming thrived in Central New York. Small local creameries served area villages, towns and hamlets. Lysander, Plainville and Warners were among them.
For more than 30 years the Baldwinsville Creamery supplied the village from its operation on East Genesee Street, now the site of the Sunoco gas station at the corner of Albert Palmer Lane. Local farmers sold their milk to the creamery which processed it and sold it to area grocers.
Urban America was growing rapidly. Cities provided both a market and demand for large reliable quantities of milk and milk products. Railroads could transport the product to market but milk producers had to provide standard products in quantity. Milk cooperatives were the answer. Scientific and industrial advances relating to milk production, processing and pricing began to blossom as well.
By World War I, Baldwinsville’s Milk Products Co., Inc. was associating with an even larger group, the Dairymen’s League Co-operative Association, Inc. Established in downstate New York in 1907 to increase farmers’ bargaining power, within 20 years DLC’s membership had exceeded 100,000 farms. The days of small creameries and milk cans were passing. Farmers no longer took their milk to the creamery; the creamery picked up from the farms. Today, large shining refrigerated tanker trucks travel throughout farm areas and whiz along interstates to get the raw milk into the production line.
The DLC evolved into Dairylea Cooperative, Inc., which merged with Dairy Farmers of America in 2014. The Baldwinsville Milk Products Co., Inc., closed in 1920. Once a busy enterprise, the old creamery stood empty as steam engines gave way to diesel.
The advent of World War II brought unexpected activity to the property which was mere blocks away from Morris Machine Works. In 1941 the newly formed Seneca Bronze Foundry purchased the site. Within three months the facility was expanded and converted into a bronze casting foundry to serve the wartime needs of Morris Machine Works (MMW).
In 1945 MMW sold the facility to James Jardine who further expanded and modernized the plant. The Jardine Bronze Foundry flourished for the next 40 years. Later a short term as home of Swimm’s Transmission was followed by another period of vacancy.
The railroad switch had been long abandoned; saplings and weeds flourished. The foundry additions were razed in 2003 and only ruins remain of the once busy industrial site whose output had ranged from fresh milk to toxic waste.
Email your guess to firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message at 315-434-8889 ext. 310 with your guess by noon Friday. If you are the first person to correctly identify an element in the photo before the deadline, your name and guess will appear in next week’s paper, along with another History Mystery feature. History Mystery is a joint project of the Museum at the Shacksboro Schoolhouse and the Baldwinsville Public Library.