While researching other information on Newspapers.com, I found examples of Help Wanted ads over time in various papers in the region. Ads were often categorized for “Female” or “Male” in those days. A List of former employees, some of whom may have answered some of these ads can be found on our Employees page here (and in the comments section): https://theguernseycow.com/employees/.
In 1966, the last of the ads appeared in The Pocono Record. Other ads from newspapers not covered in Newspapers.com probably appeared locally and later as the Chester County population grew and supplied an increasing group of hard-working teens.
On January 24, 1939, my 3-year-old mother, Wanda Polite, was bitten by the family dog. Earlier in the day, an Exton Dairy Grille customer was nipped on the hand by the same dog. Her father, Larry Polite, suspected something was wrong with the dog and, according to my mother, he killed the dog, severed its head, and drove it to Harrisburg for rabies testing. This was, and remains today, the only way to test an animal for rabies.
A few days later, results showed the dog did indeed have rabies and an alert
from the Pennsylvania state police went out to the press in the area in search of the man bitten. According to reports at the time, effective treatment must occur within 10 days of a bite. A race against the clock ensued to find the traveler identified only as a likely New Jersey resident — based on Polite’s recollection of the man’s Oldsmobile license plate.
Articles appeared in newspapers in the region starting on January 26, 1939, and were seen as far west as South Dakota and as far south as South Carolina based on searches of newspaper archives on Newspapers.com.
The most dramatic headline appeared in the Reading Eagle: State Police Seek Rabid Dog Victim: Race Against Time ot [sic] Save Man From Death.
West Whiteland Township commissioned Chester County artist Jeff Schaller to create artwork to be hung in the township building commemorating The Guernsey Cow. Funds for the work were originally donated to the township by Gladys and Larry Polite in 1985 for the purpose of restoring the The Cow sign.
Using a combination of graphics from an old postcard, letterhead, a Guernsey Cow ice cream lid, and original paining of a Guernsey cow, Schaller has captured some of the memories of Chester County old-timers. A limited run of 100 prints were created and are available through his Etsy shop.
He also memorialized The Cow in one of the panels he created in the Exton Mall a few years back for The Main Line Health Center on the first floor.
It features chapters with lots of photos and images on The Battle of the Clouds, Richard Downing’s personal letters of his life in West Whiteland in the 1850s, The Guernsey Cow, and the Valley Creek Coffee House and much more.
Janice will be presenting the book during the township’s 250th anniversary celebration at The Chester County Library in Exton on February 26 2015. You can register for two free events that day: an ice cream social and Janice’s presentation of the history of the township in images. You can register for these events here.
Last year saw the passing of the last of the Polite brothers that managed The Guernsey Cow in Exton, Pennsylvania for decades. Joseph E. Puliti/Polite (aka “Pep” or “Peppy”) died March 31, 2014 just shy of his 90th birthday.
The youngest of the brothers, Pep became the chief ice cream officer at The Guernsey Cow until its sale to Horn & Hardart in 1976.
Pep went to and played football at West Chester High and then at Appalachia State until he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and entered into World War II. During the war, he was stationed in the South Pacific.
Upon returning home from his Marine Corps service he attended the University of Maryland, graduating in 1950 with a degree in Dairy Technology. At Maryland, he met his future wife, Barbara. They married, moved back to the Exton area and had three children: daughter Wendy and sons, Kerry and Kim.
Pep resumed his duties at The Cow and, for more than 25 years, was the father of invention when it came to ice cream flavors. He boasted that the list of flavors tried was over 400. He had his successes (Black Licorice) and his duds (Roquefort or Moon Dust) that often were inspired by current events, customer requests, or his own wild imagination.
He often surreptitiously included alcohol in flavors such as Rum Raisin, Egg Nog, Grasshopper and Turkish Coffee especially around Christmas time. Pep posted a few of his flavorful stories in the comments here.
We grand-nephews and -nieces recall Pep as the happy-go-lucky one of the brothers. He always had a joke and was willing to horse around. His son, Kim, told me a few years ago:
“Peppy’s famous gratuitous phrases for pushy customers were ‘Help your fat’ and ‘Maximilian’ (for ‘Thanks a million’) which were spoken so quickly as to be partially unintelligible.”
While Pep wasn’t making ice cream and caramels he was playing golf at Whitford Country Club and running a garage door opener business on the side.
Following the sale of The Cow in 1976, Pep moved West to Colorado. An avid skier and cyclist, the Colorado Rockies beckoned. He followed professional photographer son, Kim, to Denver for 8 months then landed in Durango CO where he opened up Swensen’s Ice Cream Parlor downtown.
After a few years he sold the shop and eventually joined the Durango Silverton Railroad where he was in charge of concessions on the train and in the station. He enlarged the offerings there from just snacks to include clothing and gift items, increasing concession revenues and turning it into a million dollar venture.
In 1998, he moved back to West Chester to be closer to family. He took a role as the “Candy Man” at Boscov’s in the Exton Square Mall next door to the original Guernsey Cow property. As his daughter Wendy recalled, “He ended his career making fudge at Boscov’s next door to the place he started his career making caramels at The Cow.”
In 2003, he moved to Ann’s Choice in Warminster, PA, enjoying a group of friends for biweekly lunches as well as a regular breakfast group, and living independently the rest of his life.
I am grateful to Uncle Pep for the information and knowledge he provided in the early years of building TheGuernseyCow.com. I enjoyed his frequent emails containing stories of old Exton and the hijinx at The Guernsey Cow. His comments are throughout this site as well as on the Facebook page dedicated to The Cow and Exton memories. We’re lucky to have them.
Special thanks to Pep’s children for providing memories and photos.
My cousin , Kim Puliti, sent me this photo from August of 1968 a while back. Am assuming that’s him and his brother Kerry trapped in the ice cream room window with the empty 5-gallon bulk ice cream containers on a hot August day.
Join friends, family, and former employees at the Exton branch of the Chester County Library on Thursday, July 19, 2012, from 4 to 6PM to celebrate the library’s mural dedicated to The Cow:
A celebration at the Library to recognize Exton’s past history. For years the Polite family ran a local ice creamery and restaurant in Exton that was known as the “ Guernsey Cow”. We now have a mural in the library dedicated to the “cow”. Come out to see the beautiful mural and help us celebrate with ice cream and activities as we remember a part of Exton history.