In 1967, The Guernsey Cow added on to the existing structure to expand the dining room and kitchen area. The photo below is taken from behind the ice cram counter looking into the old dining area. Elmer Polite, brother and partner of Larry Polite and Joseph Pep Puliti (and later, owner of Mr. Sandwich in West Chester) poses on the far right.
The column in the center later became the location of the blackboards that listed the available ice cream flavors.
Elmer Polite, far right, poses before remodeling begins
Cinderblock walls form the new exterior wall in 1967.
Framing is delivered, probably from Lancaster or Gap, PA.
New framing takes shape while old dining area is torn down.
Framing near completed.
The remodel completed.
1972: The Cow Sign Moves Back
In 1972, The Lincoln Highway (Route 30) in Exton, PA was being widened and The Guernsey Cow signs needed to be moved back from the road to make room.
As described previously, when the billboard was originally erected right after the end of World War II, the highway department visited Larry Polite and informed him that, although it was a nice big cow, it needed to be moved back from the edge of the road because the cow’s head hung over the highway.
In 1968 the northern side of the highway was widened. The smaller sign shown in the post below (from 1941) would have needed to be moved or removed for that widening.
The sign above reads: “It’s The Greatest Ice Cream In The World” and it’s written over a musical staff with notes.
Anyone know the jingle or can play it for me?
Looks like: A F F F F A F F F F F A F G F F F G A C
1972: The Guernsey Cow sign rises into the air
1972: The Cow Signs Start To Settle In
Polite daughters in front of Guernsey Cow sign
This is another nice photo from my grandmother’s photo albums taken in the Fall of 1941. My Aunt Saundra and mother, Wanda, stand out along the Lincoln Highway (Rte 30).
In 1941, the business was called The Exton Dairy Grille. It was these smaller cow signs advertising “Golden Guernsey” products that would prompt customers to tell friends, “I’ll meet you at the sign of the cow.” And later during World War II, patrons would tell my grandfather, Larry Polite, that he should change the name to “The Cow.” He changed it to The Guernsey Cow and when World War II ended, he built the now-famous sign.
Kids wear Amish hats at The Guernsey Cow in 1970
My sister, Erin, brother, Brian, and I (in snappy jacket and tie) pose in Amish hats in front of the grill inside The Guernsey Cow, Easter morning 1970. Every Easter after church at nearby Sts. Philip & James we would gather at The Cow for breakfast. An Easter basket hunt out behind The Cow among the large trees and bushes with Willie‘s help was always the main event.
The other benefit to being grandchildren of the owners was searching for loose change that fell on floor beneath the ice cream counter. In the photo below from 1973, my brother, Brian, and I are caught in the act.
Kids search for change under the ice cream counter, 1973.
Thanks to my sister for borrowing these photos from our grandmother, Gladys’, collection!
If you have photos inside or outside of The Guernsey Cow, email me copies to post on the site — we’d love to see them!
It’s been a while since my last post and I’m hoping to show some new things soon. In the meantime I received this email the other day from Tom Malloy of Memphis, TN that I thought was worth sharing:
I grew up in Exton, Pa on Shoen road not far from the Cow. I remember Willie riding through my neighborhood., He would always say hello in his special way. I was always amazed that he remembered my name even when I was just a little kid. I don’t think I ever saw Willie without a gigantic smile on his face. I remember one time he let try to hold his bike up when I was little kid. It was too heavy for me with all of the horns and mud flaps and mirrors. I remember seeing him at the Farmers Market and I’d always see his parked in the Drive In.
My family would got to the Cow every Sunday after church. I think I ordered the same thing every week for 15 years or so. It was cube steak sandwich with fries and a black & white shake and it was awesome. I can still my brothers lips stained black by the blue moon ice or the licorice. It was a great place in a great time.
It was my brother Brian’s first job working at the cow.
Do you remember the place across the street where the big cow sign stood. It was called the Vittle House run by three brothers. They sold a sandwich called a beer sandwich that was incredible. I could die for one of those beer sandwiches now.
Thank for the Memories. I live in Memphis, Tn now and it was a great trip down memory lane.
Thanks for the note Tom! Does anyone else out there remember the Vittle House and what beer sandwiches are made of?