Date in History: 1880 to 1938

The production of butter was once a cottage industry throughout Wisconsin with each dairy farmer converting their excess milk into butter and cheese. Butter making was considered women’s work and the quality was dependent on the skill and cleanliness of the maker.

As this cottage industry grew into a cooperative venture, farmers began delivering their milk to area creameries for production into butter, cheese and other products. Rural neighborhood creameries began to dot the landscape of Jefferson County in the late 1800’s and by 1905 the county led the state in creameries with over 66. The Ward farm in Oakland Township ran one of these neighborhood creameries until 1918.

With the advent of the motor truck and stiff competition from commercial condenseries, the decline of the rural neighborhood creamery was inevitable. Dairy farmers began selling their milk to larger dairy cooperatives and commercial condenseries.

This historic document aired on the radio as an Historic Minute on 01/02/2006.