Got milk? When wandering the historic neighborhoods of Boston, you just might start feeling a bit thirsty as you spy a gigantic bottle of milk just up the block. Looking quirkily out-of-place, the Hood milk bottle has been a mainstay in downtown Boston for about 90 years and still looking as fresh today as ever.
Built in the 1930s by Arthur Gagner of Taunton, Massachusetts, who built the 40 ft tall wooden structure to promote his ice cream making business. These quirky roadside attractions were a popular form of advertising as the nation took to the highways in their newly acquired automobiles. Eye-catching and unique, these entrepreneurs used imaginative architecture to draw people in. Imagine walking into an architect’s office and asking “can you build me a giant bottle of milk?”
Arthur Gagner sold ice cream out of a milk bottle for about 15 years before selling the building to another ice cream shop, Sankey’s. They continued it as an ice cream shop for the next 24 years. But by the late 1960s and early 1970s, quirky kitsch was out of fashion, and many of these buildings fell into disrepair and were abandoned. The Sankey milk bottle was no exception. After it sat vacant for about 10 years, it was rescued by Boston fashion designer Carol Scofield in 1977 who found it a new home in front of the Children’s Museum in Boston. Another Massachusetts dairy and ice cream manufacturer came to the rescue. Hood Dairy became a major sponsor who funded the relocation and refurbishment of the milk bottle building, and so the bottle now sports a clean “Hood” logo. Today, it serves up ice cream to happy children and visitors alike and couldn’t be in a better spot outside the museum. When you are in Boston, walk up to that bright red window and order an ice cream cone, knowing just a bit more of its quirky history.
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