Community members celebrated Salona Supply Company’s birthday

How many of you remember the Salona Supply Company? I do, of course. My father, also Sam Moore, was general manager of the firm from 1953 through 1966, and then assistant manager and bookkeeper until his retirement in early 1976.

Birthday

Sixty years ago this past May 2, during Dad’s first year as manager, Salona threw a daylong 40th birthday celebration that was quite a deal, although I wasn’t there, being then otherwise occupied at Fort Knox learning to be a tank driver.

For those of you who don’t know, Salona was a cooperative venture that ran feed mills in Salem on West Pershing Street at the railroad tracks (where the infamous scrap recycling business is today), Winona, where the Friend’s Church is now, and Garfield on state Route 534 where Witmer’s Feed & Grain is now located.

International Harvester

There was a hardware store and an International Harvester farm equipment dealership at the Salem location as well. The firm was owned by a large number of stockholders who received discounts on their purchases and annual dividends, and that was governed by a board of directors elected from among the stockholders at an annual meeting.

Companies celebrate

For the celebration, booths were set up by various companies that supplied Salona such as Master Feed & Seed, Wayne Feeds, Baugh’s Fertilizers, Livingston’s Seeds, Morton Salt, Canton Hardware, Carbon Limestone and, of course, International Harvester. Banners were strung from building to building “to give the appearance of a county fair.”

There was a long line of shiny red Farmall tractors and other implements to add to the “county fair” atmosphere, while a number of colorful flower arrangements that had been sent by well-wishers adorned the parts counter. 1,100 invitations were sent to stockholders, customers, local 4-H clubs and others, and the event was advertised in the Farm and Dairy and Salem News, as well as on radio station WKBN.

Hundreds attend

Saturday May 2, 1953 was a warm, sunny day and folks came out in force. 919 attendees registered for the door prizes but the estimate of total attendance was well over 1,000. Photos of the crowd show most of the men in suits, ties and hats, while the women wore hats and dresses. The young boys all wore caps that were given away by the seed and feed companies’ booths along with free pencils.

During the day a representative of McMillen Feeds presented a program on dairying, while demonstrations of the tractor power take off and wrapping foods preparatory to freezing were given by International Harvester people. To entertain folks that evening a band concert by the Goshen Township High School Band was scheduled.

Guess the weight

Livingston’s Seeds had a “how many beans in the jar guessing game,” while the Master Mix Feed people had a Jersey calf on hand (that was provided by local farmer Carl Herron) and gave people the opportunity to guess its weight. Five persons guessed correctly and each won a sack of Master Mix Complete Calf Feed. Master Mix also gave away three puppies to kids, although I don’t know what they did to win them.

Anyway, the lucky winners, whose pictures show them beaming and clutching their puppies, were Rae Leana Barnes, Ronnie Holt, and Albert Lesch.
I wonder if their parents felt quite as happy about it as did the kids. In all sixty four door prizes were awarded, including the three puppies, and two cow halters that were both won by young ladies, one in a skirt and the other in the rolled up jeans that were popular among teen girls in those days.

Prizes

Other prizes included a rotary power lawn mower, a push reel mower, various metal buckets and feed pans, sacks of feed and fertilizer, and assorted hardware items.

My mother was among the group of women who volunteered to work the food stand that did a steady business all day serving free ice cream, cake, coffee and milk.

A big attraction at the show was an International 8-16 Mogul tractor that was started periodically throughout the day to the delight of the spectators.

The 8-16 was reported to have been bought by Frank and Walter Humphrey, of Hanoverton in 1913 and was still being used by them for belt work forty years later. I think the Humphrey boys combined recollections may have slipped just a mite, since International Harvester didn’t introduce the 8-16 Mogul until 1914 and only a few were made that year. The first real year of production was 1915. Be that as it may, the old relic got a lot of attention.

Increase in business

An after action report stated that “The hardware store experienced a tremendous business on this day and for the following week. Everyone connected with this day experienced a feeling on ‘getting on the ball’ and watched the resultant upsurge in business with a lot of satisfaction.”

By the time another forty years rolled around, there was nothing left of Salona Supply but the hardware store, and it was on its last legs.

Rusty Kiko auctioned the remnants on Oct. 19, 1995, and the final disposition of the little remaining money was made early in 1996.

Another Salem landmark gone.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all!

About the Author

Sam Moore grew up on a family farm in Western Pennsylvania during the late 1930s and the 1940s. Although he left the farm in 1953, it never left him. He now lives near Salem, where he tinkers with a few old tractors, collects old farm literature, and writes about old machinery, farming practices and personal experiences for Farm and Dairy, as well as Farm Collector and Rural Heritage magazines. He has published one book about farm machinery, titled Implements for Farming with Horses and Mules. More Stories by Sam Moore

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