Have You Seen The Milkman?

Does anyone remember a time when you didn’t have to go to the grocery store to get your milk? The milkman never brought milk jugs to my house, but I do remember the milk truck stopping at my grandparents’ farm when I was little. I liked to run to the end of the road to watch him unload his delicious cargo – cheese, butter, the frothy milk that helped wash down my grandma’s pancakes.

I better stop before I start licking my keyboard …

Anyway, while combing the News Tribune archives last week I came across a little feature about this dying breed of working man. It made me wish the milkman still was around. I could have used him this morning when I had to run to Cub and pay $2.39 for a half-gallon before I could eat my cereal.

Below is the 1988 story of Duluth’s favorite dairyman Joel Marien. Enjoy.

Joel Marien works his route in the rural Duluth/Pike Lake area and has a small office in the cab of his truck. (1988 File / News Tribune)


Eric Chillberg, Brandon Karasek and Ricky Lennartson eagerly wait, with check in hand, for milkman Joel Marien to deliver his goods. (1988 file / News Tribune)


Joel Marien prepares to deliver milk to his customers. (1988 file / News Tribune)


As part of his route routine, milkman Joel Marien stops for lunch at the home of Saima and Wayne Hekkinen on Hermantown Road. (1988 file / News Tribune)

15 Responses

  1. Barbara G.

    We had Springhill Dairy deliver milk 2x week for many years. My most vivid memory was when I stuck my tongue on the silver-collored milkbox – on a dare from my brother Bob!

  2. Dean

    When I was kid, my dad was a milkman for Twin Ports Dairy. He would bring me with him at times to help him deliver the milk.

  3. KA

    As a little kid in the’50’s, our Arrowhead milkman would let us hop in the truck and ride along for a block or two in the neighborhood. On those hot July days he would chip off some ice for us to suck on as we rode around. In those days the milk was kept cold by sitting on big blocks of ice in the back of the truck. In the winter those quart glass bottles would freeze and sometimes crack if you forgot to “bring the milk in” from the porch steps where the driver left them.

  4. John Ebeling

    I recall that the quart bottles, with a layer of cream on top, would freeze in cold weather and the paper cap would rise above the bottle top.

  5. S Malloy

    They (Jack’s Dairy) do Schroeder Milk out of Maplewood, MN. It’s AWESOME! The whole creamery is hormone free…so are the cows. lol

  6. Peter S

    Growing up in Lester Park, we had a milkman that came from the small dairy in Lakewood, tho I don’t recall the name… Lester River dairy? We had a small insulated box on the front porch, and the milkman would leave our milk, juice, cottage cheese and other dairy products in it a couple times a week..glass bottles, of course! I can get milk in glass bottles at the stores, where I live now, but the bottle deposit is $2.00!

    1. Judy

      The small dairy in Lakewood was my family’s; the Lester River Dairy. My grandfather started it in the 1920’s after closing a dairy he had in the West End. My father and 3 of his brothers and one of his sisters ran the dairy after grandpa died. Grandpa and Grandma were Swedes and brought their knowledge of dairy farming from the old country. The Lester River Dairy closed in the early 1980’s. With too much competition from the large regional dairies and none of the grandchild went into the dairy, made it impossible to keep it going. I have wonderful memories of being with my father at the creamery on Strand Road.

      1. Krissa

        Hi Judy,
        Was your grandfather Chris or Adolf Hendricksen? My great great grandfather was their brother, John. I’m doing a bit of family history research and I would love to chat with you further about the dairy and the Hendricksen family.

  7. the_DECk

    My uncle just up in Grand Lake Township still gets milk & orange juice delivered to his house, they still use glass containers even. I forget the name of the company that he uses, but I think he stated that he had more then one choice.

  8. Patt J.

    We lived in the lower Kenwood area when I was a teenager, and I remember the milkman delivering to our house once or twice a week. We had a special silver “weatherproof” box on the front porch so the milk didn’t freeze in winter. You could also get other dairy products like cottage cheese, cream, butter, etc.

  9. The Moose

    The Milkman still comes out to Lakeside (I think anyway). Looks like a one truck operation out here…

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