By Camille DeVaul and the Templeton Historical Society & Museum

For years, travelers along Highway 101 may have noticed a curious sight near an Oak tree — a towering 12-foot tall milk bottle, an iconic symbol of the region’s rich dairy heritage. This bottle, synonymous with the dairy industry that played a pivotal role in the area’s development, can now be seen at its home on Main Street at the Templeton History Museum.

The story behind this colossal milk bottle dates back to 1886 when Vincent Rossi, the grandfather of Ray Rossi, arrived in Ellis Island, New York, from Switzerland. Starting his dairy endeavors where the California Men’s Colony now stands, Vincent eventually established the Crescent Farm in Crocker, later known as Templeton. By 1925, his two sons, Vincent and Gregory, took over the family business.

In the 1930s, Gregory Rossi, as a creative form of advertising, commissioned the construction of the enormous milk bottle. Crafted from chicken wire, stucco, and various materials, it served as a striking roadside advertisement for the Rossi Brothers on Highway 101. Despite changing times and evolving business landscapes, the iconic bottle proudly stood as a landmark for decades.

Over five years ago, fourth-generation Templeton resident David Bond initiated the idea to relocate the bottle to the Templeton Historical Museum on Main Street. With the support of Darrell Radford, then the chairman of the Templeton Museum, and Jim Greer, a board member, the plan came to fruition.

In 2018, and with the help of many, the milk bottle carefully made its way to Main Street. Welcomed by many upon its arrival, the moment was a historical one.

The next phase of the plan was to restore the milk bottle, and with David as a professional sign painter, “Crescent Farm” is back on the bottle.

The 12-foot milk bottle, now prominently displayed in front of the Templeton History Museum on Main Street, serves as a reminder of the town’s agricultural roots and a nostalgic landmark for long-time residents who once witnessed it during their travels through North County. 

The Templeton Museum is located at 309 S. Main St. and is open Friday through Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. with free admission. The museum offers a glimpse into the history of Templeton.

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