Fun & Profit-Making inside The Guernsey Cow in the 1970s

Kids wear Amish hats at The Guernsey Cow in 1970
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.
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!

A Letter From a Tennessee Reader

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?

The Guernsey Cow as it appeared in the 1940s

 

cow-building_1940s_cropped

This is another photo my grandmother had in her files. I believe it’s The Guernsey Cow circa post World War II. That’s when my grandfather changed the name of the business from The Exton Dairy Grille to The Guernsey Cow.

I really like the detail of this pastoral scene atop the roof. I don’t know if it was painted from an actual Chester County scene or a creation of Pottstown sign-painter Harry Reed’s. I also wonder how it fared in harsh winter and summer storms — especially the twin cows standing watch on either side of “The Guernsey Cow” board.

Twin Guernseys stand watch.

A Sign of Summer

This sign is one of my favorite relics of The Guernsey Cow. Hand-lettered on a stiff board, it is a sign of times gone by.  I love the use of four different typefaces and the decorative border. More than that, it speaks to the kind of business my grandfather wanted to run and represent. I can’t imagine the run-ins he might have with customers were he operating the business today.

Did You Work at The Cow?

Child Labor
Child Labor circa late 1930s

Thanks to the brainstorming efforts of Uncle Pep (Joe Puliti/Polite), we have added a new page where you can add comments to let us know you worked at The Cow, what you did and when you did it. We would also love to hear what you ended up doing later on it life or what you are doing now. Click here to visit the Employees page.