Is Turkey Hill A Real Place?

Correction 4/12/22: This article has been edited to clarify that Turkey Hill Minit Markets isn't the same brand as Turkey Hill Dairy.

Turkey Hill: The name can mean a convenience store, a gas station, a popular ice cream brand, and an iced tea brand. It doesn't have its own special spelling like Sheetz (also headquartered in Pennsylvania) nor does it have the unique vibes of a name like 7-Eleven. But that doesn't mean Turkey Hill doesn't stand out. 

Turkey Hill Minit Markets has upwards of 270 stores across the United States, per the EG Group. (While the convenience store chain carries products from Turkey Hill Dairy, the two companies are separate.) There's even a Hershey's Chocolate World-esque attraction known as the Turkey Hill Experience in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

But here's a question for anyone who's ever sampled the brand's ice cream: Do you have any idea why it's called Turkey Hill? Folks may find a hill in some locations, sure, but was it a hill made of turkeys? Or was it that the company used to raise turkeys? Maybe it's just an inside joke between the company's founders, lost to time? The answer actually isn't too hard to find, if you just ask Turkey Hill.

Turkey Hill is a real place in Pennsylvania

According to the Turkey Hill Dairy website, the name of the company comes not from a group of rather majestic turkeys but from the place where they were hunted by the early Susquehannock Native American tribe. 

As the story goes, the Native Americans lived along the flatlands of the Susquehanna River to the north of a large ridge. This ridge, which would later be the site of the Turkey Hill Dairy, was supposedly rich with turkeys and other targets, which led to the Natives dubbing the area "Turkey Hill." Over time, the moniker stuck among settlers. Even one of the sons of Pennsylvania founder William Penn called the ridge "Turkeyhill" in a sheepskin deed.

The company also makes the claim that founder Armor Frey, a Depression-era milkman, used to watch the sunrise from the top of the Turkey Hill ridge before loading his touring sedan with bottles of milk he planned on selling. "Turkey Hill" might not immediately scream ice cream or milk, but just imagine if the company had been named after some of Lancaster County's more colorful-sounding towns. As Discover Lancaster details, examples include Blue Ball (named after an old inn in the town), Bird-in-Hand (which was also supposedly named after an inn), and Intercourse (which may have been named for the friendly camaraderie of the town's citizens, among other possible explanations).