• Family owned and operated since 1936.
  • Building was originally located in New Bedford, MA across from Fort Rodman.
  • Salvadors originally started with farming and milk in 1890.
  • Joseph Salvador Sr. was the founder. In 1910, he retired and divided the farm and milk business between his two oldest sons: Joseph Salvador Jr., and Augustine (“Gus”) Salvador.
  • Joseph Jr. started his business on McCabe St. and called it “Ideal Dairy” (now known as State Fruit).
  • Gus continued on Tucker Road with Salvadors Dairy. In 1921, he moved to a building on Cove Rd., which is now known as the Plumbing Supply building
  • In 1928, Gus married Lillian Brasells and bought farmland as well as a house and barn on Smith Neck Rd. They began building the Dairy, which took approximately 2 years.

  • In 1935, the giant “milk can” was moved from Fort Rodman in New Bedford to where it still stands today on Smith Neck Rd in Dartmouth.
  • From 1935-1936 Lillian and her sister, Rose, were educated in making homemade ice cream at Amherst University.
  • Salvadors opening season was in the spring of 1936. They served approximately 12-14 flavors, primarily those made with fresh fruit. Most popular flavors were: Vanilla, Butter Pecan, Frozen Pudding and California Fruit.The menu included Ice Cream, Sundaes, Banana Splits, Frappes, Hand-packed Quarts, Pints and Half-Pints.
  • In the mid 1960’s, Gus became ill and was forced to retire. The giant milk can was rented out from 1967 until 1972. 1967 was also the year when Salvadors stopped the production of ice cream and milk on the premises.
  • In 1972, Lillian sold the business to her nephew, Ray Jr. and his wife, Doris. They were encouraged by Lillian to make the business succeed in order for it to stay within the family.
  • In 1983, Doris became the sole owner with the help of her three kids.
  • In 1999, Carol, Doris’ daughter, took over the ice cream business. It was run with the help of her sister Sue and their friend Cathy De Balsi.
  • In 2005, ownership transferred to Len and Beth Gauvin. Len, Beth and their children, Ryan and Erica look forward to serving up scoops of ice cream in the summer of 2005. With the help of family and friends, renovations have been completed right down to the original colors.
  • August 12, 2005. Doors reopened for business.
  • Len & Beth Gauvin receive accolades from the New Bedford Historical Society for their efforts in the restoration if this historical landmark. [Click here to view the award]
  • Memorial Day 2006 - Open for the season. This weekend, Len & Beth re-opened the door for business with ‘Smith Neck Nellie’ standing at attention on the top of the can. A contest was held to name the cow. As some might remember, a cow graced the top of the can when originally opened but came down in the hurricane of 1938.

For information regarding the restoration, contact Len at: [email protected].

We appreciate any information, pictures or stories related to the history of Salvadors Ice Cream. Please contact us at: [email protected]