Friday, January 6, 2017


Memories of Bingham Canyon
By R. Eldon Bray –October 2011
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The English, Hogan, and R-Dairies all delivered milk in Bingham during the 1920’s, 30’s and 40’s before insulated milk boxes and homogenization came into vogue. The milk was delivered early in the morning and the bottles were generally left on the customers’ porches before many of them were out of bed. The Turners and Halversons were two of the families who lived in the Panos Apartments in Frogtown. The Hogan Dairy would leave their bottles of milk by the front entry just inside the vestibule which had no outside door. During the winter, unless the milk was brought in quite soon, it would freeze in the bottles and expand so that the cream would be forced up and out of the top to form a white column a couple of inches high with the bottle cap 
sitting on top. This created an opportunity for the stray or feral housecats that lived nearby; they loved the cream and also the milk – and here it was just waiting for them. The cats would lick all the cream that was above the top of the bottle and then lick the cream and milk as far down into the bottle as they could reach with their tongues. The emergence from her apartment of an early-rising, angry, housewife would cause the cats to scatter in all directions. The cats were a nuisance but no harm, other than a loss of the cream, was known to result from drinking the milk from which the cats had licked.
The Hogans, besides the dairy, also had a farm on which they raised the cows and other animals including chickens. They raised all their chickens in a large coop. In the spring they separated the young roosters from the hens and turned the roosters loose in the yard. They immediately were renamed “spring fryers” and were sold for a good price – five for a dollar (twenty cents each). There was, however, a slight difficulty associated with the purchase of these bargain-price chickens. You had to catch them yourself and then you had to chop off their heads and
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take them home to be plucked and cleaned. The Turner boys and their Dad gladly took part in this activity. They would chase the chickens around the yard with a 6-foot, stiff wire that had the end bent into a hook. The chickens would run like h---. The boys and their Dad would try to sneak up on or corner the chickens but inevitably ended up chasing some of them as fast as they could, with one arm outstretched before them with the wire in hand. Upon catching a chicken’s leg in the hook the chicken would still struggle to escape but they would pull it to them and grab the chicken with both hands. Then they would carry it over to the chopping block where there was also an axe at hand. They would, with one hand, hold the chicken with its neck on the block and, with the axe in the other hand – chop! –. After catching and beheading all the chickens they wanted, which was usually about five, they would pay for them, put them into a box or gunny sack and take them home.
Back at the apartment, they would dip the chickens into a bucket of boiling water, pluck the feathers, gut them and put them into the icebox. A day or so later the family would often go up Butterfield Canyon for a picnic that featured fried chicken, fresh peas, and new potatoes. They tasted great – the best chicken ever!

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There was also another source of chickens – the local fruit and vegetable peddler. Judson Tolman, beginning in about 1924, came to Bingham twice a week with a canvas-covered wagon pulled by two horses. The wagon was loaded mostly with fruits and vegetables but on the back he had a cage that contained live chickens. If a housewife wanted a chicken she was handed a live one to take home. In later years the horse-drawn wagon was replaced with a 1929 truck with wooden spokes and still later by a one-ton ’48 Ford. The live chickens were replaced with fresh ones that had been processed the night before and put on ice. Eventually chickens were no longer part of the goods sold in Bingham by the Tolmans. Judson’s son, Orin, started helping with the route by going to the upper parts of the canyon (including Copperfield and Highland Boy) while Judson took care of the lower part of the canyon and Copperton. When Judson retired Orin took over all of the Bingham business.

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