Monday, February 21, 2011


"Wilton Farm Dairy - Landscape" oil on canvas ( 12" x 16")

Wilton Farm Dairy cows lived on the Zaiser family farm in Catonsville, MD at the corner of Wilkens Avenue and Maiden Choice Lane for almost 100 years. It was always fun to see them from the Baltimore Beltway just grazing in the field behind their decorative fence. A photo of the dairy's fence is one of many which eludes me. It spelled out Wilton Farm Dairy in cursive letters. Additionally, whoever decided to emblazon the barn's roof with the name of the dairy was an advertising genius. That image of white block letters against the aqua roof has remained green in my memory.

"Wilton Farm Dairy Truck" oil on canvas ( 18" x 24")

A dear family friend named Carolyn was lucky enough to have a father who drove one of the farm’s delivery trucks which brought milk and all things dairy to many homes on the west side of town. She said her sister and brother would ride with her father sometimes when he drove his milk route. They loved it because their generous father said they could have anything that they wanted to eat on the truck. It was a day of dining on donuts, chocolate milk and juice for this lucky pair. My uncle Michael, who grew up in Irvington, remembers family trips to the dairy where the milk was so good that all seven brothers and sisters drank it on the spot. It was a sad night in February, 1979 when the farm was destroyed by fire. Following that tragedy the land was developed into houses which remain situated on the property. However whenever I ride past I still try to remember that fence with the cursive letters.

And bringing up the rear here is a photo from my toy truck collection... It is played with more often than some others. Moooo Moooo

Thursday, February 3, 2011


TECO line in Tampa/Ybor City, Florida
Streetcars rolling in Florida???? It had the same effect on me as hearing “elephants roaming in Florida” in my high school geography class. It was a strange but true fact, indeed. I always imagined Florida to be like Key West, Ft. Lauderdale, Sanibel Island or some other seaside resort. After all until my recent trip to the Clearwater/Tampa Bay area, this was the extent of my exposure to the peninsula state. The vision of urban mass transportation in Florida just never entered my imagination. But my friends took me to Ybor one day in January so we could walk around and eat Cuban food. Imagine my delight when I spotted the historic, bright yellow streetcars of Ybor City which dates from 1880. The neighborhood began as a Cuban/Italian community of cigar factories. The architecture is stunning. Lots of 1920’s style bungalow houses surrounding the big warehouses and factories which have been converted to retail shops and restaurants.

A nicely restored bungalow house typical of the region.

We boarded the TECO streetcar at Whiting, the beginning of the line. There was a bit of lag time so I took the opportunity to talk to the conductor. He said the cars were reproductions made in 2000 but the trucks of the cars were authentic. Tampa’s first streetcars reached their peak ridership in the 1920’s so more than likely the trucks that carried us were from that era….or so I imagined.

The line is barely three miles long and really just a right-of-way path but nevertheless we thoroughly enjoyed our ride as did all the passengers. I was wishing that there were a turnaround but these cars remind me of the double-ended Riverview car at the Baltimore Streetcar Museum – at the end of the line everyone stands and flips their seat to face the opposite direction. The conductor moves to the front and the overhead trolley is readjusted for the return trip. Adios! Ding Ding!