The historical role of the milk house on the Bradley-Craig farm (Part 3)

(Editor’s Note: Marguerite Evans, PhD., is a descendant of the Bradley family. She has written this series for Stittsville Central on the history of the beloved local dairy farm known as the Bradley-Craig farm. Marguerite shares the history of the dairy industry and the families involved. The milk house located at the Bradley-Craig farm played an important role in the early days of milk production continuing with the purchase of the farm by Eldon and Norma Craig. Marguerite has captured the history of the beloved Bradley-Craig dairy farm in great detail and we very much appreciate her sharing this series with Stittsville residents.)

On Thursday, 23 May, 1935 throughout the day there were meetings at the Chateau Laurier Hotel regarding the “contentious matter of surplus milk” and the existing price scale for milk, cream, and whipping cream for The Civic Hospital, The Royal Ottawa Sanatorium, and The General Hospital. Separate meetings were held between the Ontario Milk Control Board and The Civic Hospital milk committee; milk producers and distributers; and the Royal Ottawa Sanatorium’s management board.

The Civic received 6 identical tenders for 9 cents a quart less 10%. However, hospital requirements were for milk purchased in 5-gallon cans rather than in milk bottles. For the Royal Ottawa Sanatorium, Springwell Dairy was in competition for submitting tenders with Producers Dairy, Limited, Ottawa Dairy, Limited, Ottawa Valley Creamery, Clark’s Dairy, Limited, Shaw’s Dairy, and S. R. Boyd, Billings Bridge.

In contrast to Ottawa, other municipalities charged hospitals the regular wholesale price. Ottawa producers and distributers agreed not to change the price of milk because they had not increased the price during the previous summer months. Hospitals were already being supplied with milk at a price below wholesale prices. All three health care institutions received many tenders – all alike with milk priced at regular wholesale prices minus 10% although one distributer offered to supply The Civic Hospital with milk at an extra 6% discount. A proposal that the city purchase milk for the hospitals and arrange to pasteurize it did not meet with approval.

From all accounts Springwell Dairy had an interesting history. The dairy established hockey and broomball teams. In November, 1936, in its club room, the dairy held a meeting of the Springwell hockey team comprised of the following players: D. Defalco (captain), C. Little, P. MacDonald, H. Swords, L. Weeks, D. Robinson, T. Barclay, B. O’Shea, G. Gallinger, J. Nidd. Uniforms were provided by J. C. Bradley (Honorary club president) and “the people of the West End”.

(Newspaper clipping from The Ottawa Journal – Saturday, November 21, 1936 – regarding the Springwell Dairy Hockey Club meeting on Armstrong Street, Ottawa.)

In February, 1937, The Ottawa Journal noted that “Springwell Dairy hockey team continued their winning streak at the head of the Elmdale League by defeating Beavers 5-4.” A celebratory party was held at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Neil Waddington, 94 Hamilton Avenue “in honor of the Springwell Dairy hockey team, who have had such a splendid record this season.” Mrs. R. A. Stokes, wife of the dairy’s manager, and Miss Lola Carscadden, niece of Mrs. Joshua Bradley (Clifford Bradley’s mother) assisted the hostess.

In 1938, at the Westboro rink, M. N. Cummings defeated the Springwell Dairy broomball team by 2-1. One team member was Harry (Henry) Wright, a dairyman whom Clifford Bradley sponsored to emigrate from Scotland in 1929 and to work on the latter’s farm.

Over the course of several years the dairy caught the attention of reporters at The Ottawa Journal for more serious matters. For example, in the summer of 1936 a fire broke out in a stable rented by Springwell Dairy in which one horse burned to death and another was shot by police because it was so badly burned.

(The Ottawa Journal reported on Page 3 of the fire and death of two horses at Springwell Dairy on August 14, 1936.)

On March 16, 1937, thieves broke into what now was called Springwell Farm Dairy, attempted to break open the safe, and stole 11 cartons of eggs, chisel, punch, hammer, and $2.50 in cash. Police apprehended Jeremiah Carmanico, 26, and Wilbur McDonald, 27. Carmanico had a record, changed his plea to guilty, and was sentenced to 3 years in Kingston Penitentiary while McDonald received 6 months definite and 6 months indefinite in Ontario Reformatory.


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