Red's Delivery Service, Ma'am Your order is here

By Phyllis Badgley

Red Badgley

A well-remembered business in  Baker during the 1920s and 30s was Redís Delivery Service. My father, C. H. ďRedĒ May, began delivering groceries and meats in a rig that sported a cab with a built-in box on the back of it. This was a step up from the sidecar motorcycle he had traded in on it.

Because of his auburn colored hair, my father was know as ďRedĒ and many people didnít know him by any other name.
He signed agreements to deliver orders for Bakerís local grocers and meat markets. It was of utmost importance that the meat orders be delivered first so the lady residents could begin preparation of the noon meal. The delivery districts were divided into zones, and three pickup trucks delivered the orders accordingly.

Baker Packing Company (where Anderson Photo is now located), Smith Packing Company (directly east across Main Street from Baker Packing) and Harry Bunkerís meat market in the 1700 block of Main Street. These

establishments took telephone orders as well as serving walk in customers.
It was my privilege as a youth on Saturdays to stand on the running board of one of the delivery rigs and ride into alley locations so the meat packages could be delivered to the back doors of the homes.
If the housewife didnít answer the knock, I was instructed to hang the meat package high out of reach of any dog that might be in close proximity. The meat was wrapped  in white butcher paper and tied with heavy string, so the parcel could usually be hung over the top hinge of the screen door.

The Business was located at 2300 Resort Street. Current location of King's Department Store

Grocery deliveries were made twice daily. Most grocers closed on Sunday. One that stayed open late on Saturday night was Piggly-Wiggly, where the closing time was 8 p.m. The store was located in the south portion of 2036 Main St., which most recently has housed Courtesy Furniture.
Over a period of years, Redís Delivery added heavy-duty trucks and expanded to include out-of-town transfer service. Red May acquired an office and truck terminal building at 2300 Resort St., the present location of Kingís variety store. The large, wooden-fronted building housed loading docks for shipments to interstate locations.
Local merchants depended on freight deliveries being made to customers around the county by truck lines that terminated at Redís Transfer. Residents of Halfway accepted delivery from Todd Crook, while Richland was served by Bob Coble, McKinney from Medical Springs, Thurston from Huntington and a connection with Blue Mountain Stages in John Day.
Because Redís Delivery and Transfer building was located immediately across Resort Street from the Clarick Theater, the wooden building was in danger when the 1937 fire consumed the Clarick.
Flames leapt high and cinders floated, settling on the front of Redís building. Intense heat caused putty to pop from the windows of the Transfer building.
Garden hoses were employed to prevent destruction of the business. The home of Dr. Ragle, the local veterinarian, which was immediately north of the terminal building, was also spared.
After a successful business operation of 14 years, Redís Delivery and Transfer was sold in 1838 to Curtis Smith.  The location eventually housed a Safeway store.  It also served an interim as a church prior to Kingís occupancy.

Printed here with the permission of Baker City Herald

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