William Davis Baker

William Davis Baker (Photo: Carol Moye)

William Davis Baker (Photo: Carol Moye)

William Davis Baker is the owner of Baker’s Dairy on Hamilton Avenue in Homewood. He has been in business for 52 years. He is the sole owner of this business. He was originally from Montgomery, Alabama. He was eager to come north, and arrived in Pittsburgh in 1959. He began as a jitney driver, but discovered that he really didn’t like doing this. He then worked at a business center downtown, then worked for a milk company.

His first store was on Brushton Ave. He didn’t own this building but was renting from white owners. After they raised the rent when they saw how successful he was, he decided it was time to own his own business, and bought the current building 1962 or 63. He later purchased the old Gelman’s Loan building on Center and Kirkpatrick. He had to close that store when his brother-in-law kept stealing from him. Soon after he began to dabble in Real Estate, which to some degree he still does.

In 1974 or 75, he noticed that there was no car wash in Homewood, and began by having people with buckets in front of his store. This became quite popular, and he purchased the lot next door, and had Mr. Minifield’s construction company do the work for him. On the day they opened, he had ice cream for the kids and candy, and other fun things.

Mr. Baker’s wife, Patricia Gardner, was the owner of Images Gallery. She operated that business for years, until her mother developed Alzheimer’s Disease, and she could no longer keep up the store. Mr. Baker is currently rehabilitating the building, and hoping to lease it to another business.

Mr. Baker, 76 years young, says, “I love my age. I’m able to do things. I love that.”

He also says, “I Love people. I love to help people. I love to be around people and kids. I love doing things.”

“I have a very intelligent wife.” (Best quote of the day) And apparently, Baker’s Dairy has the best corned-beef sandwiches in the “Burgh”.