The Garland Milk Bottle was built in 1935, along with its sister location downtown. Billed as "designed to build better men and women by making dairy products more attractive to boys and girls" with a cost of $3,700 per building, the Milk Bottles were originally designed as retail outlets for dairy merchant Paul E. Newport. The dairyman had plans of building six such operations, but settled on the two still standing today.
Notable for its unique architecture, taking the shape of a 38 foot high Milk Bottle (naturally), one could buy all sorts of dairy products from the Garland location, including ice cream. The building operated as a retail dairy for forty years under Newport family ownership until 1974 when it went out of business.
Under the new ownership of Shirley Wright and Virginia Burrill the former diary retailer was renamed, "A Little 2nd Hand Shop in the Giant Milk Bottle," and began selling a "mishmash of castaways ranging from old postcards that sell for 25 cents to an 1890 Chippendale slant-front desk that sells for $2,500." In 1986 the milk bottle was converted once again, this time into an ice cream and dessert parlor under the new ownership of Bill and Nola Graham.
Today 'Mary Lou's Milk Bottle' is an old-timey diner with award-winning milkshakes, along with homemade burgers and sandwiches so affordable one wonders how they stay in business. Disaster struck in September of 2011 when a fire burnt down most of the Milk Bottle and the neighboring Ferguson's Cafe, which is historic in its own right. After nearly a year of rebuilding the Milk Bottle is back up and running. Aside from a few minor renovations that included hollowing out the 'neck' of the bottle and some upgraded cooking equipment, one would hardly notice a difference between what it was before the fire and what it is today.