Sunday, January 25, 2015

Old Milk Dairies in Arcola, Louisiana

Old Milk Dairy owned by Mook Tillman 
Today I decided to turn down a road off Hwy 51, in Arcola, Louisiana. My curiosity had got the best of me and I wanted to see if I could find any old buildings and talk with anyone who was sitting on their front porch on this beautiful sunny day.

As usual I just pull up and start talking to people as if I have been knowing them all my life. I saw this man walking to his house and I pulled into his driveway and introduce myself and then I asked him about the old building down the road from him. He thought I was talking about the old milk dairy. He said I'll get in my truck and follow you back there so you can show me which building you're talking about.

After he saw the building he decided to show me several old milk dairies in the area. One was owned by an old black man by the name of Moots Tillman. Mr. Tillman was married to Louise.  The Arcola community had many milk dairies, he could recall only one being owned by and African American man. As we drove around the area he pointed out some of the larger dairy farms and horse ranches. I found the land in Arcola to be beautiful and woody. It is somewhat hilly, with tall pine trees. Most of the people who live in the community is related and they're living on land that had been in the family for several generations.

Old Milk Dairy-Photo Credit: Antoinette Harrell
"Some dairy farmers wasn't milking with machine at that time, they were milking by hand," said Anthony. He said that he remember some of the people who owned the dairies. "A lot of the old folks have die off and their descendants was living on the properties, "he said.

Anthony used to milked cows for a man named Bob Kirby. He said that after the cows were milked the dairy owners would set the milk containers out and the truck would come by and pick them up.  Milking cows wasn't the occupation for Anthony, so that job was short lived. I'm so happy that he shared what history he could recall about old dairy farms in Arcola. Like the history of sawmills and timber companies, milk dairies provided jobs for the local people who lived in the surrounding area. I was just as happy to see some of the old building still standing. Some of them are falling apart, but for the most part many of them are still standing.