Cold Storage

1942.  This is Collin Whadford standing proudly by the new electric gasoline pump at his family’s Whadford Standard Service Station, SW corner of Plymouth Ave, and Maple. This tiny single pump service station (until 1942 when they got two electric pumps) was set into the corner of the building so that the pump could be approached from Maple or Plymouth, at the corner.  The Whadfords were renting this station from Anderson for a few years.  Around 1943 it was rented to others, and in 1950 the building was remodeled and this station eliminated as not being sufficiently competitive with others, and not really convenient for serving cars.  Whadfords must have come upon hard times because their farm out W of Hamilton Corners was foreclosed a few years earlier.  I last saw Collin and his wife Gladys Capps Whadford in Escondido,  Ca,1995, when Collin and Gladys gave me this and other photos.

In the background you can see the old hand operated glass topped pump, set aside after replacement.  My dad had a similar glass topped hand pump just like this one on our farm.  The top held 10 gallons in easily seen graduated scale on the side. It had a 3′ hand lever (you can see it on the side), and was easy to pump.

This was the  building in which Cold Storage Locker Service was located at the back.  The “locker service” was a butcher shop with wooden lockers of about 24″ by 24″ by 30″ deep placed 3-4 high along multiple rows.  The butcher would accept sides of beef, pork, or whatever, cut it up as you instructed, and “wrap it” for you with butcher paper, again, as you directed.

You could order more of the meat ground for hamburger, or add so much fat, or not.  Choose roast size, or have round and other less quality meats ground for hamburger. You could “tailor” your cuts to your family’s need.  And, tailor the wrapping size for your family And, tailor your hamburger as to how lean or fat or the quality and types of meat going into it.  The butcher had a big meat cutting band saw, which sliced easily thru bone, making cutting rib-eye and other cuts dirt simple.  We had up until about this time always butchered our own stock, and the ease of doing it with the butcher’s machinery was just so much easier and faster than we could manage.

You could also tailor how much meat per package, so that you didn’t un-thaw too much at a time.  Later, we sometimes had our meat “double-wrapped” which helped prevent freezer burn.

The Cold Storage was an important service to New Plymouth.  Most of the farmers would slaughter their own beef or hogs, skin it, saw it down the spine, making it much easier to transport “sides” to the butcher. A big plus was quick freezing the carcass, which, of course none of our home fridges could do.  It also pretty much kept us from having to buy meat at the grocery store — saving over half the cost of meat.

The Cold Storage butcher would come to your farm and slaughter if you wanted that.  Deer and elk hunts saw such meat also go to this butcher–who could combine it should you want that. Folks used frontier knowledge of how to treat venison as most folks do not like, or are unaccustomed to the “wild” taste–our remedy was to “bone it.”  This means to remove all the fat (where the wild taste comes from) and replace the deer fat with pork fat or duck/geese fat. then it taste very good indeed!  Venison mixed with pork makes very good sausage.  We never used this butcher for ham curing, there was always a local skilled in that — not something for a novice to attempt.  You always found such a skilled person by word of mouth.

I don’t know how long the Cold Storage operated, but It was still there in 1958.   When I got married in 1957, my dad did not give me a wedding present.  I was not expecting anything as he was just eeking by financially.  In fact, during my college and dental school, my dad was unable to give me even a dime.  However, when we came back in summer of 1958, for break from school, dad announced that he was giving me a wedding present of a steer — standing out in the pasture.  Of course, I had to slaughter and butcher it myself!

Another minor problem: half of it was to go to my sister, Charlene, a widow, and just re-married, but also no wedding present!  So, I slaughtered it and took it to Cold Storage to butcher and wrap. Small problem:  I was going to dental school in Chicago 35 hour drive away!  How to transport a whole side of beef so far without it un-thawing in the middle of the summertime? The Cold Storage froze the meat up good, I insulated the trunk of my car best I could with blankets, packed the meat in, put in some dry ice gotten from Caldwell, topped it off with more insulating blankets. Then drove lickety split, non-stop, for Chicago, stopping several times along the way to replenish my dry ice.  Made it just fine.

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