Famous Crescent Dairy Farm Bottle Has A New Home

Perhaps you’ve seen it standing along 101 by an Oak tree. It’s been there for years. If you’ve lived here for a long time or were born here many years ago, you probably know the story — or some of it anyway.

Paso Robles, PASO Magazine, Rossi, Templeton

Courtesy photo
David Bond, Darrell Radford, and Ray Rossi with the relocated milk bottle.

We’re talking about the 12-foot tall milk bottle synonymous with the dairy industry that was a huge factor in our area’s development.

Back about 1886, Ray Rossi’s grandfather, Vincent, landed in Ellis Island, NY from Switzerland. He was 19 or 20 years old, and in those days you just arrived as an immigrant and voila, next day you were an American.

Beginning his work where California Men’s Colony now stands, Vincent accumulated his own small dairy herd and moved to Crocker — the first name for Templeton. He purchased land and started the Crescent Farm. More land was acquired and in 1925, two grown sons, Vincent and Gregory now ran the business.

In the 1930s, as a way to advertise, Gregory had the huge milk bottle made from chicken wire, stucco and whatever else would stick together. It was built as nothing more than an advertising sign for the Rossi Brothers. Travelers couldn’t miss it on 101.

Times change, businesses come and go, the old ways become obsolete and all the other cliche’s get in on the action. But, that ol’ bottle stood proud for a long time.

About three years ago, Mr. David Bond, a fourth generation Templeton man approached Darrell Radford, the Chairman of the Templeton Museum and Jim Greer, a Board member. He asked about perhaps getting that bottle moved to the Templeton Museum, and they figured it out.

Dec. 5 at 10:45 a.m., with the sun shining brightly and the road blocked off, down Main Street came the bottle strapped to a flat-bed truck!

I counted 53 people in attendance and each of them was snapping photos. It took about 45 minutes to unload onto its new home right by the sidewalk in front of the Museum. Guest of the day was Ray G. Rossi, the grandson of Vincent. He’s 85, lives in Los Altos Hills, south of San Francisco, and is in great shape with a wonderful sense of humor and appreciation to the men and women who made this happen. He said, “Gee, I’m so impressed. It’s only a bottle! These folks here made my family really proud with this nice gesture.”

Through the years and during the renovation of the bottle, all the original words were covered over. But, fear not! It turns out that David Bond is a sign ‘n’ letters painter as his profession. His work is all over the area and into NV and Texas as well. He hopes to begin the re-lettering process before the end of January. As that happens, we’ll keep you apprised of the progress.

Templeton Museum is located at 309 S. Main St. It is open Friday through Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. with free admission. If you want the history of Templeton and even to see some of the original Crescent bottles and cardboard bottle tops, go by and spend a couple hours seeing this terrific treasure just down the road from anyplace you are now reading this. You’ll be impressed. A Templeton treasure has been saved.