Saturday, July 23, 2005

Homeier's Dairy

Homeier's Dairy is just a fading memory, now. Located on Stanford in about the 900 block, Homeier's was a little store that sold things such as milk in glass bottles, ice cream, penny candy, and school supplies, including the illustrious Pee-Chee folders (also, now just fading memory).

The best thing about Homeier's Dairy, though, was the soda fountain.

On Fridays, my dad would come home on his lunch hour and give my mom grocery money for the coming week. At the same time, he'd give me my wages for washing the dishes all week. My wages consisted of a quarter. As he handed it to me, he'd always say, "don't spend it all in one place." Right.

As soon as my dad went back to work, and my mom headed off to the grocery store, I hotfooted it over to Homeier's. Mr. Homeier treated me like a barkeep treats his best drunk. He'd wait patiently in his white shirt, white trousers, and black belt when I'd walk in the door, plop down on one of the stools at the counter, and spin around several times.

When I finally settled down, he'd ask, "the usual?" To which I'd nod my head in the affirmative.

My usual was a hand made chocolate milk shake served in the metal mixing container with a glass and a straw. (I'm near fainting, now, at recalling the taste.) The price was 20 cents. For a nickel more, you could make it a malt. Rarely did I get a malt. I wish I could say my intentions in not indulging in the malt were me heeding my father's words. But, no. Instead, I usually spent the change on jawbreakers and pixie stix.

I'm not sure when Homeier's opened or when it closed. But for me, it was a real treasure. I wish kids today could have known it.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I went there also as a kid and lived about a block away.You could get a coke for 10 cents and if you were really cool and rich,they would put cherry juice from the fountain in it!
This was more than 30 years before Cherry Coke came along.They were ahead of their time.Also got base ball cards of what was then players of the 60's.

12:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for commenting. Those cherry Cokes were really good. They also had vanilla (not imitation) and chocolate Cokes. I may have had a black cow, or two, too.

Oh yeah, those baseball cards.... As a gum chewing girl, I always felt rooked that the gum wasn't more than just a stick.

3:04 PM  
Blogger JeromeProphet said...

I just don't recall this place at all - despite not living far from the location.

But you sure do bring back memories.

Maybe it was just because as a kid everything taste more intense, or perhaps everyone waters down everything now-a-days, or perhaps it's a combination of the two, but everything sure tasted better back then.

A small sized hamburger, and small fries which was the regular size back then filled me up.

An a milkshake was an incredible treat!


8:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have an old milk bottle that says Homeiers dairy Springfield Il. When did this place close?

5:05 PM  
Blogger David said...

During the first half of the 1960s I lived on the 2500 block of 7th Street which was really just right around the corner. My dad used to give me a note so that I could walk (by myself) to Homeier's Dairy to pick up a pack of Lucky Strikes. Often I was sent for bread and a gallon of milk. The milk came in glass bottles and a gallon was heavy for a little fella. Once I dropped and broke the gallon on the sidewalk in front of the store - milk and glass went everywhere. Of course I didn't have enough money to buy another gallon. The lady at the cash register told me to go back and get another bottle.

I drove by the site of the store in the early 80s and it was gone, if memory serves.

Just across the street was Jeri's, a barbershop where I got my haircut.

I went to nearby Harvard Park School and spent a lot of time in Bunn Park riding my bike, fishing. I found a small turtle there which I took home and kept for a few years.

5:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Really enjoyed these comments. I used to live on the other side of town on Edwards & MacArthur from 57-65. I went to Dubois, Grant, & SHS.
Our hangout was Zorns' Drug Store and we could get vanilla, chocklate, or Cherry Cokes, cherry phosphates, or just about every combination for 10 cents. If you were broke (as I usually was) we would go to the drug store on Lawrence where you could get a BIG root beer for a nickel.

Thanks for the memories.

3:51 AM  
Anonymous Tessa Homeier said...

Christian and Lena Homeier, the owners of Homeier Dairy, are my great grandparents. I googled Homeier Dairy and found your site. I don't know very much about what kind of people they were, aside from the fact that they worked very hard and were generous, so I was glad to read such good things. If you have any information about them, I would really appreciate it! Thank you!

2:41 PM  
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2:32 AM  
Anonymous JWL said...

Homeier Dairy was a full dairy operation. Raw milk was delivered via tank cars on the railroad at the back of the property, then pasteurized and processed into products in a building to the west of the store. Products were delivered by a fleet of trucks.

I grew up next door to the Homeier family. Wally, the youngest of the six children of Chris and Lena, was my age and my best bud. Mrs. Homeier was our Cub Scout den mother.

Mr. Homeier (Pappy) let Wally and me help ourselves to the soda fountain so long as we ate whatever we made and cleaned up our mess. We would then walk a couple blocks to Davis & Turley Hardware to get ammo for our bb guns.

Mr. Homeier dressed up as Santa every Christmas and gave gifts to all the kids in the neighborhood.

Tessa, your great-grandparents were very kind and a lot of fun.

I miss my old friend, Wally, who died in 2007.

5:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about Zorn's drug store somewhere near Jefferson and Illini? And Community Bakery in the same area? Is the Esquire Theater still there? What about Avenue Food Store? Remember Myers Brothers department store downtown?

2:49 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I grew up in the 2200 block of Yale Blvd. Homier's was a whole 5 blocks from my house but we walked there if there was 2 or more of us, 10 cent scoop...priceless!

9:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jerry Jr. My Dad was Jerry the barber at 10th and Stanford. I shined shoes there once in a while and swept up the hair on the floor. Old Mr. Taylor worked with him for a while when he was real busy. i also would go down to the dairy and had a mik shake. If I recall right, there was a tavern further down stanford that Charlie Zabi (?) ran. Had good chilli. Nice memories.

8:59 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I remember my dad getting milk at Homier dairy by the quart in a metal rack that held 12 quarts at a time. My dad was a Lutheran minister who moved from Springfield to Farmersville.The owner never marked it down but trusted my father to pay what he owed at the end of the month. The ice cream cones and the shakes were the best. I stopped by an antique store near Springfield a few years ago and bought a half pint,pint,quart,and a half gallon glass bottle. I have them sitting on counter. I look at them and remember the good ole days of my childhood growing up. Those were the days.

Rev. Paul Wiegert

1:29 PM  
Blogger Jack Fasbund said...

The best treat of all were the phosphates! We used to walk the railroad tracks on the way home from Jefferson Junior High, down into Homeier's parking lot, then up to the soda fountain to order lime, cherry, or strawberry phosphates. What a rare treat those were.

8:02 AM  
Anonymous Bobby Orr said...

I grew up in the Cabbage Patch, so Homeiers was a staple for us. I use to pay my paper bill as a delivey kid there every saturday.
Years after it closed it was a tavern for a while; does anyone remember the name? I'm writting a book "Tavern Talk" about old tavcerns in Springfield. Send any info to

10:00 AM  

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