Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Diffine’s Dairy was located at 1314 Hyde Park Blvd. and was a division of the Niagara County Milk Producer’s Co-Op. These photos are circa 1957 at a time when there were several independent dairies bottling milk and making ice cream in the city. Carrigan’s on Portage Rd., Wendt’s on Buffalo Ave, Milleville Dairy on Cayuga Drive, and Diffine’s, were the four largest. Diffine’s and Wendt’s were prime competitors and both made their own brand of ice cream and bottled milk under their own name as well as for other, smaller dairies. Diffine’s also made “real” frozen custard, the only other place you could get it besides Hibbards in Lewiston. And Diffine’s ice cream was what today would be called “premium” because of the very high butterfat content. Mmmmm, good!

Being located directly across from Hyde Park, Diffine’s was a “must stop” after a ball game or a walk in the park. At times, several baseball teams would inundate the soda fountain all at once and there would be 30-40 kids in line. Note the prices on the signs in the background: 10cent cones, 30cent sundaes and milkshakes, 89cent ½ gal of ice cream.

One of the interesting things was dealing with tourists from other parts of the country where terminology was different. Someone might ask for a “soda” when they meant “soda pop,” and in the dairy a soda was ice cream, flavoring, and carbonated water. Or they might ask for a “frappe,” when they meant what we called a milk shake. For anyone who loved ice cream this was the dream job, as you could eat as much as you wanted……FREE!! If you were really lucky you got to actually make ice cream under the tutelage of a seasoned dairy employee and there is not much in life better than to taste fresh, soft ice cream, right from the freezing machine.

The first photo is of Bob Woodring serving a cone. After he became an adult he became the owner of his own dairy in Boston, NY.

The second photo shows Naomi waiting on a couple young girls. The dairy store was run by women and employed teenage boys. Naomi was very well liked by everyone as she had the sweetest personality.

The color photo shows Jim Barto handing 3 cones to awaiting hands.

The last photo is a view from behind the counter and shows Bob Woodring, John (who was also a mail carrier and worked the dairy part time) and Joe Smith on a busy evening.

(Click each photo for a larger image)



Paul Marquis said...

My father worked for Diffine's Dairy in 1946. He may of drove a milk truck. His name was Joseph Marquis.

jean levitt speck said...

I walked to HYde Park school in 44 and 45. Would sometimes buy lunch at Diffines when the weather was bad, The womwn would toast a buttered hot dog roll before adding the hot dogs. Yum! Still eat them that way. The first time I ordered hot chocolate it was served with a spoonful of marshmallow fluff on top and I thought it was curdled milk till I tasted it. Great place to stop after skating on the creek.

Thomas L Hughes said...

My father was employed there for many many years. My mother worked there for a short time also. My dad also made the cottage cheese. He was the weekend milk receiver way back when and we would go up to the dairy and wash our cars during the winter months.

I met my wife while working there. she and here friends would come out of the park and she was the girl in he green shorts. After 58 years we are still going strong.

I was the family soda jerk. I worked there and am still hooked on milk shakes.

I also worked for the Niagara County Mi;k Coop as a state licensed milk receiver before I went off to the navy.

Many many fond memories.

I have been a milk baby every since.