Friday, April 18, 2008

Baldwyn Businesses - The Dairy Bar

By Larry Johnson

"My Dad had seen and tasted soft ice cream for the first time in Memphis around 1953. He contacted the distributor and arranged to buy one of the machines along with finding a source for the liquid mix that you poured into the infernal thing. The distributor came to Baldwyn and helped Daddy layout the plan for the little building which he built, I believe, in 1954. I distinctly remember the sales guy because he was driving a new Oldsmobile that had an add on that was new to me...AIR CONDITIONING. The unit was in the trunk and the air came up just inside the back window in clear plastic pipes".

"When we originally opened the thing we only had ice cream (vanilla) and milkshakes, chocolate or vanilla. We later added a hot dog warmer and that was it for the first year. The second year I talked Dad into leasing it to me and paid him a dollar amount for every can of mix I ran through. Now it was better. I added sundaes with fruit topping and could afford to hire someone to help me. Bernard Coggins' mother worked with me for most of the summer - what a nice lady - her name was Ollie. I think it was my senior year when Daddy sold it".

From Grover Thomas: "I worked there for a summer (maybe longer) on Sunday afternoons. I remember it well. When my shift was over, I'd have various milkshake spatter over my entire body. Turn the milk shake rotors on a little too soon and you'd send liquid and chunks to virtually inaccessible places. Every color imaginable was visible. Worst for me was root beer, which I detest to this day. I always spread this one for maximum effect. I think I saved every penny I earned that summer".

* * * * *

It was first bought from Mr. Johnson by Jimmy Outlaw, and later operated by Kay Poling. It was demolished and cleared to make way for the Ford dealership that opened on 1 June, 1966 ("The Way We Were", Simon Spight, 1987, p 55).

Grover's comment about root beer reminded me of the sassafras roots that grew on a hill behind the Dairy Bar near the rear of the Methodist church. I would cut some every now and then and we would make some excellent tea. It tasted similar to root beer. My grandmother really knew how to make it. -CH


  1. The hill with the safarass was the place we called the golden roots, wasn't it?

  2. That's correct, 6:56 AM! I had not thought of that, thanks for the reminder. The roots were golden in color and were very aromatic especially in the early spring. The tea we made had a couple of spices added, one was ginger, don't remember the others.

  3. I also remember well the golden roots. Every spring my mom and a lady down the street had us boys go over and get some of the roots for a spring tonic. I don't know how they made it but I liked it.

    Anyone know if the roots are still there? Probably not as there has been a lot of construction behind the church.