He never likes to answer that question, but he does have bottles he is most fond of, such as two bottles - a quart and a pint - that came from the Enochville Dairy. He knows of only one other bottle from the Enochville Dairy in existence.
Patterson also cherishes an embossed bottle from the Rockwell Park Dairy, founded in 1890, and his hard-to-find Lomax Dairy bottles from Spencer.
“That’s a very good local bottle,” he says.
Spencer once had three dairies: Lomax, Mendenhall and Hilltop. But Rowan County had many others.
This list is probably not inclusive, but the others included Rowan Creamery, which became Rowan Dairy, Westview, Hickory Grove, Frank Corriher, Linn’s, Coble, Deal’s, Rockwell Park, Hall’s, Mack Harrison, Enochville and Morningside dairies.
Cabarrus County also had a significant number of dairies, including Cabarrus Creamery, Sunrise, H.B. Troutman, Pure Milk Products, Dixie, Russell, J.C. Misenheimer, Crest Ridge, Boxwood Manor, Rose Hill Guernsey, Cold Water Farm, Cedar Grove and Clear Springs Farm.
There also was York’s Goat Milk Dairy in Concord.
Patterson says Stonewall Jackson Training School in Cabarrus County once had its own dairy.
“That’s an awesome bottle,” he says.
In addition, Patterson has made a point to collect cardboard milk cartons from the past, though cartons are much rarer items, because they usually were tossed out with the next day’s trash.
Included in Patterson’s display at the N.C. Transportation History Museum are a couple of artifacts from the Haynes Dairy in Lincolnton.
Founded in 1914, Haynes Dairy remains in operation and is celebrating its 100th birthday this year.
Patterson’s bottles, cartons and go-withs also reflect the war bonds campaign and cowboy promoters for dairies such as Hopalong Cassidy and Wild Bill Hickok.
Patterson is retired from Philip Morris in Concord. He naturally has absorbed a lot of knowledge about dairies in North Carolina and would like to author a book some day and illustrate it partly with photographs of his bottles.
But first things first.