We’ve been hard at work on a project right under everyone’s nose: renovating the restaurant space that has been occupied by the Madison Coffee Shop for as long as just about everyone can remember. But being hidden in plain site is still being hidden.
Part of the project has involved disposing of an old, unused oil tank that has lived under a cinder block enclosure on the Post Office side of the building. This will make room for a walk in freezer unit that will provide food storage for the future restaurant.
The oil tank had probably been installed in the forties or fifties. It was decommissioned years ago when we helped out the Madison Arts Cinemas by installing a high efficiency gas furnace to replace their old oil-burner.
Thankfully, the old tank hadn’t leaked. The soil tested clean. Now it was time to remove the last cinderblocks and dirt to make way for a concrete pad for the freezer.
That’s when two old friends showed up. Two glass pint bottles from Maple Shade Farms in Guilford. Buried in the dirt behind the tank. Probably tossed there when the guys who put in the tank paused for a break and a drink of fresh milk.
When old buildings reveal their secrets, reactions can be mixed. An old window or crumpled ancient newspapers might be interesting to some. To most, it’s a polite “huh” and then on to the next thing.
Not so with these Maple Shade fossils.
Longtime Madison faces light up instantly with memories not accessed for decades. The family trips for ice cream. The milkman delivering fresh bottles to the house, with a cream layer floating on the whole milk in the glass bottle. Little pint bottles like these for the taking at the school cafeteria. I’ve enjoyed sharing these antiques with folks around town and seeing their smiles grow wide as they revisit those warm, every-day family moments from long ago.
Maple Shade Farms was in Guilford, next door to Fonicello’s, but it might as well have been in Madison, having played a singular role in our childhoods. It’s long gone, but the memories are welcome.
These two friends from long ago have a new home in the Davis Realty office. We hope they’ll keep bringing smiles to the faces of those who stop in to say hello.