So Berry Good

Borden and Pekin, Indiana were once the largest loading points for carloads of berries shipped by the Borden-Pekin Berry Growers Association. These communities were quite dependent upon the Monon Railroad. The berries were brought to the depots by local farmers in many ways. The berries were shipped in Railway Express refrigerator cars to Chicago where they would be distributed to other major markets. A northbound Monon passenger train would stop and pick up six to eight refrigerator cars nad head north. Strawberries were harvested in May and Blackberries and Rasberries followed. For years the president of the association was H.C. "Happy" Littell who served as the Monon's station agent at Pekin for 32 years, from 1909 to 1941.

  

Pekin Depot on the left. Borden depot on the right

Loading Strawberries at Borden, 1925 -Larry Johnson Collection-

Both communities were served by the Monon Railroad. During season carloads of the berries were shipped north to Chicago . The large volume of berries supplied by the area farmers influenced the naming of the athletic teams at Borden High School. The teams were lovingly nicknamed the Borden Berries in 1934 and the name was used until 1966 when it was changed by the student body to the Borden Braves. Many in the town today still prefer the Berries nickname for its quaintness and uniqueness. Strawberries continue to be farmed in the Borden area, especially in nearby Starlight, Indiana where the Starlight Strawberry Festival is held each Memorial Day weekend.

Borden Berries Label -Don Maier, Borden Library Collection-

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