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December 17, 2012

Demolition of Rhodes granary marks changing Norman landscape

NORMAN — James Brockhaus remembers the old Rhodes granary and Norman’s local dairy industry well.

“We used to get feed up there some,” Brockhaus said. “We had a dairy out east of Norman.”

Brockhaus said there used to be a dairy “right west of it there, right across from the park on the north — Sloan’s Guernsey Dairy.”

Brockhaus said he lived Norman’s history.

“I worked at the fire department and started in ’48. I knew all the streets, really, from delivering milk,” he said.

As a child, Brockhaus delivered milk house to house.

“Sometimes we set it on the porch and knocked on their doors,” he said. “Some people had us go in and put it in the ice box. Back then, people didn’t lock their doors like they do now.”

He remembers “a grain mill south of Main Street, west of the railroad tracks. There was a big ice plant across the street from it, and Steffen’s dairy was across the street.”

That grain mill south of Main was likely Rhodes’ predecessor, Massey Grain Co.

Brockhaus said the plant furnished ice for small ice plants.

When delivering milk, Brockhaus said they used a large, insulated box with ice.

“We bought 600 pounds of ice a day to keep the milk cold,” he said.

“At one time, there was probably in the neighborhood of 50 dairies in this area, but I guess most of them sold to Highland, but it was McCormick’s Gilt Edge Dairy back then,” Brockhaus said. “When they moved down to where Highland is now, they changed it to Gilt Edge Dairy.”

Gilt Edge Dairy is listed on 302 S. Porter Ave. in the yellow pages of the 1950 Norman phone book.

McCormick’s dairy originally was located by the railroad tracks near Gray Street on the southwest corner, Brockhaus said.

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