• The mural will be dedicated Monday at 5:30 p.m.
While Philip “Phil” Chaffin Yarborough was growing up on a farm in the Osgood community of Lee County, the only child of Oscar and Mary Brown Yarborough, he learned about various trades. The small family experimented with different ways to survive, including owning a country store and growing various crops like cotton and corn and large gardens on their 100-acre farm.
Oscar became known for his teaching at the Osgood Methodist Church. Mary focused on cooking, sewing and homemaking. Phil, who was born May 9, 1895, attended Trinity Preparatory School in Durham and later took classes at N.C. State College in Raleigh.
Phil’s family rented a room upstairs to a single woman who taught at a nearby school, and Phil fell in love. At age 30, Phil married Wilma Crystal Hartness, born Aug. 5, 1903, daughter of William R. and Martha “Mattie” Rumfelt Hartness, whose family owned a flour company.
The Yarboroughs bought 10 cows and enjoyed owning a dairy farm and providing milk to residents. In April 1927 Phil founded Fairview Dairy, named because of an article he read in Progressive Farmer magazine.
As Phil supplied milk to several routes, he generated loyal customers and demand increased, and within a year he owned 30 cows. Milk was placed in pint and quart glass bottles.
Phil’s hired employee, Frank Stone, milked the cows and took two routes a day, one in the early morning and the other in the afternoon. Without refrigeration, milk had to be delivered fresh. Another key employee, Ralph Harrington, helped on the farm and worked with the business as it expanded.
Business Moves, Family Grows In 1930, after a fire burned the barn that housed the cows and the building used for pasteurizing milk, Phil decided to relocate to Sanford. He bought a building on McIver Street near the train station and railroad tracks. The space was small, but it was big enough to start over and attract customers who lived nearby. At this time Fairview Dairy quit producing milk and started buying it from various farmers in the area. Phil and Wilma moved their three children, Mary Martha (born Feb. 6, 1926), Philip Chaffin Yarborough Jr., (Nov. 3, 1927), and Rufus Melvin (Jan. 21, 1930) to downtown Sanford. Then Wilma gave birth to Carol Michael Yarborough (Dec. 25, 1931), Wilma Crystal “Billie” (Aug. 9, 1934), and Janet Elizabeth (Dec. 29, 1939).
Recently Phil’s youngest son, Carol, provided a timetable for the growth of Fairview Dairy:
• In July 1935, Phil introduced Fairview Ice Cream and created Fairview Dairy Bar, a small eatery where ice cream and milk were sold to the public on McIver Street.
• In 1940, he started Dairy Store that became Fairview Restaurant, located near the Temple Theatre on Carthage Street. The restaurant was sold to Carl Johnson and Ralph Sutton who operated it during World War II.
• In March 1941, the bottle washer was installed.
• In December 1941, Phil observed his increasing success with a special Christmas gift for Fairview customers, a seal-right sanitary hood placed on every bottle of milk. Carol said that Phil told folks “nothing can now touch the top of the bottle until you open it.”
• During World War II, Fairview Dairy was among several companies in the area that delivered milk to Fort Bragg every day and also to the veterans’ hospital in Fayetteville.
• In March 1946, Phil purchased a new instant freezer to improve the quality of ice cream. He installed molds for the manufacture of cheerios, which were vanilla ice cream bars dipped in chocolate syrup, and popsicles. Carol said his sisters wrapped the popsicles and cheerios, capped strawberries and pitted peaches. “We three sons drove milk trucks,” he said.
• Through the decades Fairview Dairy increased deliveries to restaurants, hospitals and grocery stores.
After Phil Dies, Dairy Changes In 1947, Phil’s wife, Wilma, passed, then he died in 1949. His second wife, Edna Earl Beddingfield Yarborough, and John McLeod managed the dairy. By 1953, the dairy provided milk for cafeterias in 26 schools in Lee, Chatham, Harnett and Moore counties. In 1954, Fairview Dairy opened another Fairview Dairy Bar at the corner of Carthage Street and Carbonton Road. Phil’s son, Rufus, served as manager.
After Carol’s parents died, he graduated from Sanford High School and studied agricultural dairy science at N.C. State in Raleigh. From 1954 to 1957 Carol served in the U.S. Air Force. Then he returned home and became manager of Fairview Dairy Inc.
In 1959 Carol married Ann Elizabeth Holt, daughter of William McPhail Holt Sr. and Bertha Partridge Avent Holt, whose family owned Holt Truck and Tractor Co. in Sanford.
In 1961 the Yarborough family accepted an offer to sell Fairview Dairy and the Fairview Dairy Bar restaurant on Carbonton Road to Long Meadow, based in Durham. Long Meadow purchased the customer base and rented the facility on McIver Street. Carol stayed on as local manager for several years. Later, Long Meadow was sold to Flavorich and Carol served as a manager there for about two decades.
Yarborough’s Ice Cream Created In 1976 Carol continued to own Fairview Dairy Bar restaurant on McIver Street, and in 1976 remodeled the building and changed the name to Yarborough’s Ice Cream and Grill. Many transitions have occurred during the past 40 years, including the hiring of Carol and wife Ann’s two sons, Michael and Tim, but that’s another story for another day.
Today, the business is thriving, and a huge 3-D mural — the first of its kind in North Carolina — was painted recently by artist Chris Dalton on the right outside wall of the building. The mural was privately funded by several individuals, organizations and businesses. This is the seventh mural being created as part of the Public Arts Program, coordinated by the City of Sanford Appearance Commission.
On Monday, the mural will be dedicated at 5:30 p.m. The public is invited to honor the contributions of Fairview Dairy and the Yarborough family to this area. As with other celebrations, dignitaries will rave, attendees will clap, but this time, there is a special treat: ice cream!
AlexSandra Lett lives near Broadway. Contact her at Letts-SetaSpell@aol.com or (919) 4998880. She is the author of several books, including “A Timeless Place, Lett’s Set a Spell at the Country Store.”
Philip ‘Phil’ Chaffin Yarborough, founder of Fairview Dairy, was born May 9, 1895, the only child of Oscar and Mary Brown Yarborough, in the Osgood community in Lee County. He died May 30, 1949. This picture was taken about 1940.
The first 3-D mural in North Carolina honors the Fairview Dairy and will be dedicated Monday at 5:30 p.m. The large mural was painted by artist Chris Dalton on the right wall of the building now occupied by Yarborough’s Ice Cream and Grill, 132 McIver St., Sanford. This is the seventh mural being created as part of the Public Arts Program that is coordinated by the City of Sanford Appearance Commission.
This picture shows the Fairview Dairy at 132 McIver Street, Sanford in 1936. The dairy was founded by Phil Yarborough in 1927 in the Osgood community of Lee County. After a fire in 1930, the business moved to Sanford. In 1935 Phil introduced Fairview Ice Cream and created Fairview Dairy Bar where ice cream and milk were sold to the public. In 1961 the dairy was sold to Long Meadow. In 1976 Phil’s son Carol remodeled the building and created Yarborough’s Ice Cream and Grill.
LETT’S SET A SPELL