May 18, 2012

Crystal Dairy Building

What began as the Crystal Dairy back in the early half of the 20th century is now a completely renovated loft apartment building, and at the moment, the place I call home. While it's difficult to find exact dates on this building, a branch of the Carlyle Dairy was established in Medicine Hat in 1913.  It would seem that that was this building, as in 1917 they became the Union Milk Company, which included Crystal Dairy. 

The Crystal Dairy brand was known for ice cream, but milk was delivered door to door from this dairy up until the sixties.  The vintage images I've posted below show the horse drawn delivery carts in the 1930s and the milk trucks in the 1950s.  My parents actually remember the Crystal Dairy making deliveries as kids, although I believe it was bought out and operated by larger companies throughout its lifetime.

In the nineties the building was refurbished and expanded to create loft apartments, and another floor was added in 2010.  You can still see some of the faded painted signage on some of the original brick.  In my opinion, it's now one of the nicest apartment blocks in the city, and certainly has some of the best character.  The original boiler is still in the basement, and a large fire escape on the opposite side of the building is popular with wedding photographers.  It's a rare example of a historic building embracing its past while actually becoming significantly better than the original ever was.  

Crystal Dairy ca. 1955

Adding a new floor in 2010.

Crystal Dairy ca. 1936

Crystal Dairy ca. 1927-1929


Wendy said...

Dude. You live in an old ice cream factory? That is badass!

Editing Luke said...

More incentive to come for a visit? haha. It is BYOIC these days though - bring your own ice cream.

Wendy said...

ALL these cool photosets are more incentive to come visit. Also, I will totally bring ice cream.

Anonymous said...

would it be weird to ask you to take pictures of the inside.. haha ive always been curious as to what they apartments look like in there!

The Geisslers said...

I used to go to Earl Kitchener School in the early 80's and we lived down the block on 5th Street. Sometimes on the way home for lunch, I would climb that giant set of stairs in the front of the old 'Alpha' Dairy to buy a carton of chocolate milk. Sometimes, after school while walking past the diary, the milkmen would give us cartons of milk or ice cream bars that were left over. Great pictures. Thanks.

Unknown said...

My Dad worked there in 1944/45. Used to bring a brick of ice cream home at supper time. Everything related to dairy was controlled at that time and subject to quota. Don't know how he managed it but it was enjoyed. I was only
2 in 1944 and had no idea of the size of the business.