According to recent accounts coming into the Greene County Historical Society, Frank Bryan made ice cream so good that customers from Washington and Fayette County would stop by in droves during their drives on Sunday afternoons.
The ice cream made at his Waynesburg Sanitary Dairy was so popular that it would routinely cause traffic jams around the dairy and needed traffic cops to keep the traffic moving.
“We have photos in our collection that show traffic backed up with ice cream fans waiting to buy a cone,” said Larry Pishko, administrator of the Greene County Historical Society. “We also have a newspaper article that says that the dairy sold as many as 3,000 cones on Sunday.”
On June 26, area residents will once again be able to treat their taste buds to Bryan’s ice cream when the historical society stages the Bryan Dairy Reunion and Ice Cream Social from 2 to 5 p.m. Admission is free, but the proceeds from the sale of one ($2) and two ($3) scoops of ice cream will benefit the historical society.
“Patrons will be able to sample chocolate, vanilla, maple nut, orange-pineapple and other flavors,” said Pishko. “While Bryan ice cream is no longer made commercially, the ice cream we’ll be serving will be authentic. People will definitely be surprised when they find out how we’ll do it.”
In addition to ice cream, the event will also feature speakers, including members of the Bryan family, who will give an account of their experiences at the dairy, and employees who worked for the ice cream shop - everyone from makers to scoopers (called dairy boys in the old days).
Patrons will also be able to view an exhibit of dairy memorabilia never before displayed that will become a permanent display at the society museum sometime in the future. The exhibit includes ice cream scoops, milk bottles, match books, old coupons, business cards and stationary and a Bryan Dairy sign that reads “miles closer - hours fresher.”
“We’ll also display a saw painted with a scene of the Bryan dairy factory with ice cream trucks parked in front,” said Pishko.
The event is the brainchild of Wayne Hart, former Bryan dairy boy who counts Judge Farley Toothman as a fellow Bryan ice cream scooper. In his duties as event coordinator, Hart asked around for people who might want to donate Bryan memorabilia to be displayed in the exhibit.
One person who contacted him said he had in his possession an old Bryan coupon from the 1960s offering a free cone of their favorite flavor.
When asked if he could redeem it, Hart said he as well as any others who had similar coupons could do so at Sunday’s ice cream social.
The following is information gathered by the historical society from area residents about the dairy. More information is expected to be revealed this coming Sunday when the family and employees convene at the society museum, which is located at 918 Rolling Meadows Road in Waynesburg.
For more information about the event, call the museum at 724-627-3204.
Some history about Bryan Dairy
James Bryan and his family moved to the United States from Scotland in 1887. Bryan worked in a coal mine in the Morrisville area of Waynesburg until he started working for Norman Sayer, owner of the Locust Point Dairy from 1887 until 1908, as a delivery man.
In 1908, James purchased the dairy from Sayers, which was the largest dairy in Greene County at the time. The purchase included cattle and equipment for the farm. Six years later, James’ son John Kennedy Bryan bought out half of the dairy, and the business was called James Bryan and Son.
In 1915, the Greene County Dairy Association was formed and Jimmy Bryan was elected president. By June of that year the manufacturing plant of the Greene County Ice and Dairy Company was ready for use. It was located in the east end of town on the south side of High Street. The structure was a 65 X 120 foot block and concrete building that cost about $75, 000.
The company began making ice at about 35 tons a day. The dairy used local milk to produce ice cream, butter, cheese, and buttermilk.
In November of 1928, the building became the headquarters of the newly named Waynesburg Sanitary Dairy. At this time, milk was delivered by horse and wagon. During the Depression of 1929, free milk was delivered to families of the unemployed. Waynesburg Sanitary Dairy delivered 229 quarts daily to 131 families in Waynesburg.
James Bryan was killed in 1941 by a hit-and-run driver. His son, John K. Bryan, became the general manager of the dairy until his death in 1943. Frank Bryan became the general manager soon after his father’s death.
Frank J. Bryan worked in the dairy making deliveries and later in the plant where ice cream was made. In the 1930’s milk was plentiful and Frank Bryan offered milk back to the farmers to feed their pigs, but there was still excess milk.
He bought an ice cream machine and used the excess milk to make ice cream. He charged five cents for a single dip and ten cents for a double dip cone.
In 1968, the dairy’s name was changed to Waynesburg Sanitary Dairy.
In 1972, Frank Bryan died and by 1974 his son-in-law William J. Leskosky became the general manager.