JULY 2015; A 1955 DIVCO MILK TRUCK: HISTORY GETS PRESERVED FOR SENTIMENTAL REASONS

0
948
55 imgp6149

55 imgp6149Divco trucks were specifically designed for delivery in an urban environment.

The Divco name is short for Detroit Industrial Vehicle Company and the trucks enjoyed a 60 year production run from 1926 to 1986.

The Divcos were most commonly used as milk trucks during a bygone era when home delivery for dairy products was a way of life in most communities.

55 imgp6689The small Canadian prairie city of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan was one of those towns where home delivery for milk was provided by Palm Dairies and one of the milkmen was Cec Stapleton.

The Divcos were destined to replace the horse and wagon in Moose Jaw when the milk trucks arrived in the mid-50s. It may seem unusual to learn that horse-drawn wagons were still in use well into the 20th century, but the reliable equine milk delivery wagons provided faithful service until the arrival of the Divcos.

55 imgp6700

Cec Stapleton was one of the milkmen who made the transition from horse reins to steering wheel in the mid-50s with the arrival of the Divco trucks. The Divcos were well-suited to the urban world where the trucks’ design and modest speeds were a good match for stop and go delivery in towns.

55 imgp6151

Eventually Cec had to upgrade to a General Motors delivery truck for his out of town routes but the Divco trucks were always an important part of his career memories.

The Divcos were also a big part of the childhood memories for Cec’s sons, Doug and Rod.

Many years later, Doug came across a familiar-looking Palm Dairies Divco truck in a Central Alberta area storage yard. The years had not been kind to the old truck, but Doug still recognized the Divco from his childhood days in Moose Jaw.

55 imgp6155

Suddenly a self-professed non-car guy decided to save the Divco from the crusher and bring it back to its former glory.

Doug stored the truck at a cousin’s farm in Saskatchewan while he and brother Rod figured out how to give the story of a battered old milk truck, with strong roots in their family history, a happy ending.

55 imgp6777

The price tag was incredibly high for a complete restoration so the brothers searched for a viable solution to their problem.

Eventually they found a great way to bring the Divco back to life when they contacted the Sukanen Ship museum just outside of Moose Jaw.

55 imgp6157

The Sukanen Ship museum is a non-profit organization designed to preserve the history of Moose Jaw and area.

They have a 40 acre site that houses significant buildings, artifacts and vehicles from a bygone era.

55 imgp6145

The Divco milk truck with its Moose Jaw history was a great fit for the museum and the Stapleton family’s desire to save the truck, so they were happy to donate it and have them breathe life back into the old truck.

The restoration process was not easy and required some cost-effective measures for the budget-minded museum.

The Divco now runs a GM four cylinder engine coupled to an automatic transmission and sports a small gas tank with just enough capacity to get the truck through a parade route-but probably not a milk route-in Moose Jaw.

55 imgp6693

The official unveiling of the Divco included the Stapleton family and one of the last surviving Divco drivers from the early years of the trucks, Cec Smith.

55 imgp6699

Cec did not spent as much time behind the wheel of the Divcos as the rest of the delivery drivers, but he has very fond memories of the trucks.

Cec Smith, like Cec Stapleton, was a milkman when the horses were replaced by these unique little delivery trucks and his small model truck is a reminder of a time when home milk delivery was a way of life in North America.

55 imgp6150

This Divco story did have a happy ending.

The Stapleton brothers were able to save a memory of their late father that will always have a place of honor in the history of the Moose Jaw area and the Sukanen Ship museum gets an amazing artifact with local roots.

A classic win-win situation.

Jim Sutherland

CLICK HERE to Like us on Facebook

CLICK HERE to Follow us on Twitter

CLICK HERE to Follow us on Pinterest

Please re-post this if you like this article.

- Sponsors -