This 1956 ad shows the wide array of dairy products one could have delivered to their doorstep by their Robert's dairy milkman. Home milk delivery remained popular throughout the 1950's until the age of the supermarket.(Courtesy Indiana State Library)

This 1956 ad shows the wide array of dairy products available for delivery to front doorsteps citywide by their Robert’s dairy milkman. Home milk delivery remained popular through the 1950’s until the age of the supermarket. (Image: Indiana State Library)

Business:  Robert’s Dairy

 Date of Ad:  September 2, 1956

Location:  4201 Millersville Road

Years of Operation: 1877-1988

Notable:  Do you remember home milk delivery? Or have you heard of it? Until refrigeration and supermarkets, most folks received frequent delivery of dairy products directly to their doorsteps from a local dairy. One of the bigger names in Indianapolis was Robert’s Dairy, which began operating in 1877. In 1930, they opened a vast new bottling operation on Millersville Road on the northeast side of the city. They even featured a giant cow mascot.

Robert’s remained a dominant supplier of dairy products to grocery stores and schools through the 1980s. The company declared bankruptcy in 1987 and sold off all of their production to Maplehurst, which in turn sold to Dean Foods in 1997. With the popularity of home grocery delivery, perhaps we’ll see a return of the milkman in the future?

Additionally: In 1982, Robert’s acquired Lindner’s stores, another local institution. These operated as a hybrid type of convenience store/ ice-cream counter, similar to United Dairy Farmers in the Cincinnati area. At their peak, over thirty Lindner’s were located around Indianapolis. After the bankruptcy of Robert’s, the popular local icons were sold several times until closing for good in 1990.

During the day of the milkman, fresh dairy products would be placed in a box like this that was made of stainless steel or wood. Daily deliveries were necessary due to lack of reliable refrigeration. (Courtesy eBay)

During the day of the milkman, fresh dairy products would be placed in a box like this that was made of stainless steel or wood. Daily deliveries were necessary due to lack of reliable refrigeration. (Image: eBay)

This ad from 1986 show's the final days of the Robert's Dairy empire. In 1982 the dairy purchased the chain of Lindner's stores from the namesake family. Robert's declared bankruptcy in 1987 and sold it's milk production operations to the Maplehurst Company. They held on to the stores until being auctioned off in 1988. The Robert's Dairy building remains on Millersville Road near 42nd Street. (Courtesy Indiana State Library)

This 1986 ad show’s the final days of the Robert’s Dairy empire. The Robert’s Dairy building remains on Millersville Road near 42nd Street. (Image: Indiana State Library)