Cow eating clover, 1941


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History of Freeland, Pa.
Flour, grain and feed mills and stores

What's on this page:
  • 20th- and 21st-century flour, grain and feed mills and stores
  • Flour, grain and feed mills and stores listed in directories and maps, 1900-1940
On related pages:


As late as 1941, and surely later, Freeland needed feed stores. The photo at top left was taken in 1941, shared by Charlie Gallagher who wrote: "My Pop (Bernie Jr.) holding my sister Sheila on the back of the cow. They would have been standing near the south end of St. John's parking lot on Vine Street. (Notice the cars in the background are on Fern St, not Ridge St.)" Although people would take their cows to open green space to graze, there were still people keeping chickens, butchers keeping livestock and poultry, people who owned horses, etc. Here are the three 20th-century feed stores I know of at present. More information is always welcome!



B. F. Davis feed store ad, 1895 B.F. Davis Feed Mill on 1923 map B.F. Davis Feed Mill on 1900 map B.F. Davis & Sons Feed Mill - Johnson and Birkbeck streets (Benjamin F. Davis, proprietor). Before moving to Johnson and Birkbeck, the Davis business was on Main Street and on Centre Street between Front and Walnut. This feed mill appears on early Sanborn maps under B. F. Davis's name, as on the detail from the 1900 map shown at near right. Note that it says that the building was heated by steam and had oil lights. (The nearby Eagle Hotel in this 1900 map detail is the site of what was later Krone's store.) By 1923 a new building had been built on the corner of Birkbeck and Johnson streets, as on map detail at right.

B. F. Davis & Sons feed mill letterhead, 1929 Davis Feed Store fire Davis feed store fire, 1964 An ad from 1924 read: B. F. Davis & Son, Freeland. Wholesale dealers in flour, feed, grain, hay, sugar, poultry, food, etc. (Ed Merrick: Catholic Reference Book and Parish Register, circa 1924) The photo at left and newspaper article at right, from Ed Merrick, show the aftermath of the devastating 1964 fire at this mill.




DiSpirito Bros. Flour and Feed DiSpirito's ad, 1939 DiSpirito Bros. Flour and Feed - south Washington Street at the railroad crossing. Jim DiSpirito recently provided some information about DiSpirito's, owned by two brothers. Aniello "Neal" DiSpirito and his brother, Pasquale DiSpirito, bought the property from Armour Beef Company in 1917. Aniello/Neal married Fanny and they had 3 sons: Augustine (Gus), Vincent (Vince), and Pasquale (Packy), who is in his early 90s and lives in New Jersey.
See the Grocery Stores page for a note about Vince DiSpirito's store. (1939 flour ad from Ed Merrick)



DeSpirito feed store fire, 1931 Faded Cresota Flour sign Prize Bread Flour of the World There was a fire at DiSpirito's in 1931 (article from Charlie Stumpf). The business recovered, though, and continued for many years.  The building stood empty for years afterward and was torn down a few years ago. As shown above, there was a faded ad for Ceresota Flour still visible on the side, and as shown in the close-up at right you could barely see the rusted remains of their slogan, "Prize Bread Flour of the World," which had been painted just as it's shown in this copy of their ad.




From Ed Merrick: Pasquale "Packy" and Angelo DiSpirito lived with their mother, Fanny, in a big white house with a large porch just south of our place at 342 Washington." [Corrected by DiSpirito grandson Neil Fisch, who writes that Fanny was Aniello's wife, and that the family lived at 326 Washington St.; also corrected by Jim DiSpirito who says that there was no Angelo in that generation, so it would have been Packy and either Vince or Gus living with Fanny at the time Ed remembers. Gus was Jim's father.]
Ed continues: There was an empty lot next door, which they owned. Fanny was the scourge of our alley baseball games because she wouldn't allow us to come in her yard to retrieve baseballs that were hit there. [Now this is very funny: Jim DiSpirito wrote: What it says about Fanny, my grandmother is true, regarding the balls. After she died Packy and me found two buckets full in her basement.] )

From Pat Ferko Miller: DiSpirito Feed and Grocery store. Washington Street at the railroad tracks. Train used to unload flour bags etc. at the side door. I think the building still stands or a part of it may still be there. Catty corner from that facility (across the tracks) was a lumber yard. I believe that it closed in the 50s.) [building torn down after Pat wrote that.]

From Sam Drozic: It was down Washington St. by the RR tracks on the side of the street where Turri's Bar was. It was the last bldg. before the old train station. There was a gray, wooden stairway that took you to the actual store part which was on the second story. The first story, I believe, was used for loading and unloading grain and supplies by the tracks. When you walked in, you had to go towards the rear of the store and to the left side to pay at the register. It had a little of everything from hardware to candy.)

An ad from 1924 reads: DiSpirito Bros. Freeland. Dealers in flour, feed, hay, straw, grain. (Ed Merrick: Catholic Reference Book and Parish Register, circa 1924)



Pingar receipt, 1925 John Pingar and Son - Washington Street, opposite L.V.R.R. depot - Dealers in flour, feed, hay and grain.









Flour, grain and feed mills and stores listed in directories and maps, 1900-1940

1900 Sanborn Fire Insurance Co. map
B. F. Davis, Flour Mill

1900-1901 city directory
Flour and feed mills and stores in business listings:
Davis, B. F., flour, feed, grain, straw, etc., Freeland

1900-1901 city directory
Flour and feed mills and stores in business listings:
Shambora, George J., grocer, hay, feed and grain, Centre

1905 Sanborn Fire Insurance Co. map
B. F. Davis, Flour Mill

1912 Sanborn Fire Insurance Co. map
B. F. Davis, Steam Mill (Flour Mill - CT)

1912 telephone directory
Davis B F, Flour & Feed Birkbeck

1917 telephone directory
Flour and feed mills and stores in general listings:
Davis, B. F., flour & feed - 440 Birkbeck [440 Johnson at Birkbeck - CT]
Dispirito Bros., flour & feed - 202 Washington

1921-22 city directory
Flour and feed mills and stores in business listings:
Davis, B. F. & Son, flour, feed, grain, hay, straw, Johnson cor Birkbeck
Dispirito Bros., flour, feed and grain, 202 Washington

1928-29 city directory
Flour and feed mills and stores in business listings:
Davis, B. F. & Son, flour, sugar, salt, feed, hay, grain, 440 Johnson at Birkbeck
DiSpirito Bros., flour and feed (retail), 202 Washington

1940 city directory
Flour and feed mills and stores in business listings:
Davis, B. F. & Son, flour and feed, 440 Johnson
DiSpirito Bros., flour and feed, 202 Washington



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