By Staff


Wisconsin is ‘Dairy Land’. In our moving, a lot of
material got disca-bobulated and now we don’t know Who sent us
this article nor who ‘Jamie’ is but the article is
worthwhile, historical and interesting, and we are sure will be of
great interest to many of our readers. The man who sent it will
tell us about our carelessness.-Elmer.

WHO AMONG our readers remembers driving along Wisconsin roads in
the early 1900’s and hearing insistent blasts of steam

Not to be confused with the easily identifiable train whistles,
these whistles were distinctive, each having its own personality to
the initialed. They were the whistles of the creameries, urging
tardy farmers to hurry up with their cream.

The weary farmers, like the day, not quite yet awake, would slap
the reins on their horses’ backs and gid-dap them into a trot
in order to get to the creamery before the day’s churning

And if the roads were rough and rutty, which most of them were,
the cream would be partly churned by the time they arrived. This is
merely a city man’s’ conjecture, but we don’t think we
are too far from fact.

THE ABOVE IS the result of a letter we received from Scott
McCormick of Princeton, Wis., advising us that his father Edgar C.,
a pioneer creamery operator in Portage County had passed away.

The McCormicks helped to make history in the creamery business
in Portage County. Scott’s father started the Eau Pleine
creamery near Dancy in 1902 for the farmers of the neighborhood.
Apparently the farmers were apt pupils. At the end of six weeks he
moved on to Buena Vista to operate a creamery there until 1913.

Uncle Fred came to Portage County in 1899 to operate the Hetzel
creamery near Almond. He also ran the Arnott Creamery from 1909 to

Uncle Otto came in 1903 and learned the creamery trade from
Uncle Fred. The following spring he went to Bancroft to run the
creamery there until 1912. He also operated creameries at Stockton,
Buena Vista, and Plover.

Another McCormick, George, learned his trade under Scott’s
father at Buena Vista and then moved to Plover to operate a
creamery there. He died in 1915.

Uncle Fred died in 1949, Uncle Otto in 1955, and Scott’s
father passed away on May 29th of this year. So, a generation of Mc
Cormicks who made history in the creamery business in Portage
County has gone to greener pastures.

WE VENTURE A GUESS that every time Scott McCormick hears a steam
whistle he will remember his father and uncles pulling the whistle
cords to hurry the tardy and often tired farmer.

Scott McCormick remembers ‘when my Uncle Fred was at Arnott.
I heard him blow six long blasts on the whistle one morning for a
farmer who was lingering. This creamery had a high-pitched chime
whistle. There was another creamery to the south of us that used to
blow its low-pitched chime whistle quite a bit.

‘My father had two whistles on the creamery at Buena Vista
for a while. These froze and burst one winter. Then he used a
single whistle from an old threshing machine that he bought from
the owner of the machine.’

THE OLD-FASHIONED creamery with its whistle to hurry the farmers
along is a thing of the nostalgic past. Milk is now picked up at
the farms and rushed to large and modern dairies in fast trucks
over hard-surfaced roads.

The only whistles left in the dairy industry are the horns on
the milk trucks and a few whistles on the dairy and cheese
factories to announce the time to begin work, to knock off for
lunch and the time to quit. Even the morale shattering whistle of
the old steam locomotive has been relegated to a memory of ‘the
good old days.’

Incidentally, the creamery business according to the
Encyclopedia Britannica, got its start in Switzerland in 1820 when
Swiss farmers sent their cows to the sweet upper pasture where most
of the milk was made into cheese. Each small farmer was paid in due
ratio according to the yield of his few cows.

The modern creamery may be said to date from 1866, when the
first distributing society was founded in Denmark. The number of
creameries advanced in Denmark between 1882 and 1914 from two to

Farm Collector Magazine
Farm Collector Magazine
Dedicated to the Preservation of Vintage Farm Equipment