The Way It Was – Drink Golden Jersey Milk

Photograph courtesy of Detroit Historical Society

1936 The “Got Milk?” ad campaign to chug down more moo juice has been wildly successful since 1993, but in the 1930s, this eye-catching neon sign did the trick. The imposing cow urging passers-by to “Drink Golden Jersey Milk” kept vigil over the entrance to the main office of the Detroit Creamery Co. at Grand River Avenue and Sycamore Street. When home delivery of milk and other dairy products was ubiquitous, trucks from such Detroit dairies as United, Twin Pines, Brown’s, and Wilson’s were a common sight. Home delivery from some companies still exists today, but on a much more limited scale. This signage was created by a Detroit-based company — Walker & Co. — whose headquarters were in New Center. Walker, founded in 1885, designed countless outdoor signs, not only here but also across the nation and Canada. A Walker ad from 1926 boasted an “art department second to none in the design of posters or painted displays.” Walker created signs for many types of businesses, most notably for auto companies and their dealerships. According to the Detroit Historical Society, Walker was even responsible for the familiar illuminated red ball atop the Penobscot Building. The company experienced a series of buyouts, beginning in 1961.