A group of buildings that once served as a tile company and milk plant, among other uses, are being demolished.

The structures, which once housed Akron Pure Milk, Cotter Moving and Storage and B.W. Rogers, a distributor of industrial products, have been owned by Akron Children's Hospital for several years, said Brian Lapolla, executive director for Facilities, Design, Construction and Public Safety at Akron Children’s Hospital.

"This lot borders Exchange, Water, Cedar and Bowery streets,” he said. “The buildings are deteriorating and need to be demolished primarily as a safety measure. In the short term, the property will be a surface lot to accommodate the hospital’s growing need for employee parking. Although a few ideas have been discussed, no definitive long-term plan for the site has been identified.”

The buildings are at 265 W. Bowery, 370 Water and 68 W. Exchange.

According to a Beacon Journal article from 1902, a Chicago group formed Akron Pure Milk in a former file company by merging several independent milk routes into one Akron company. President Horace B. Camp and Vice President L.S. Ebright took the helm in a former tile factory on West Bowery Street between Exchange and Cedar streets.

They started with six horses and six wagons.

"The milk is brought to the plant each day, where it is clarified and pasteurized, being handled upon the most hygienic principles," the Beacon Journal reported in 1902. "An inspection will convince anyone that milk thus treated is pure and healthful, and aside from saving the lives of a great many children annually and helping to stamp out those dread diseases so often traced to milk, it will save this community much sickness, perhaps death, by giving the people a perfect confidence in the purity and healthfulness of the milk they are using."

"The business failed miserably," wrote Beacon Journal history writer Mark J. Price in a 2006 article. "After losing about $100,000 over 18 months, the company was sold for a mere $10,000."

Price reported that Otto N. Harter, who co-owned the Harter dairy store on East Exchange Street with his brother, Henry, bought the business in 1904 with brother-in-law Aaron G. Teeple and butter maker J.M. Sumner, who quit to focus on butter.

Over the next 20 years, the Harters and Teeple transformed the small company into the largest dairy business in the city. They installed modern machinery, built additions to the complex, expanded the work force and watched sales soar.

Ownership changed hands several times and eventually the milkman would go the way of the horse. In the 1950s, Sealtest converted the processing plant into a distribution site and opened a warehouse on Gilchrist Road.

The Bowery Street plant stood vacant for a few years before Cotter Moving and Storage Co. bought it for $175,000 in 1965. In recent years, the building has had various tenants, including artist Mac Love.

 

Betty Lin-Fisher can be reached at 330-996-3724 or blinfisher@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow her @blinfisherABJ on Twitter or www.facebook.com/BettyLinFisherABJ and see all her stories at www.ohio.com/topics/linfisher