History of dairies in Marshall
Land O’ Lakes Creamery, or the Elmer Swanson Dairy, was located on North Fourth Street and West Main Street (near the present site of the former Norwest Bank which is now Wells Fargo). At this dairy, milk and cream were bottled. They specialized in large containers of butter sold commercially. They also furnished bulk material for ice-cream makers. The managers were Doc Rans and Earl “Pete” Kompelien.
Mac’s Dairy was located a half a mile west of Marshall between Highways 19 and 68. The owners, Henry McKigney and his son, Jack, were in business from 1931 to 1937. The McKigney Dairy and the Nylen Brothers Dairy were the last to go before the pasteurization laws put them out of business. The McKigney Dairy bottled milk products and delivered in Marshall in an old truck.
E.A. Johnson Produce Co. is located at 103 Main St. (at the time of this writing). When this business started in 1915 it was located at 105 S. First St. (Taylor Lumberyard). In 1921 the business moved to its present site. Johnson bought pure cream from farmers in bulk and wholesaled it to Slayton and Worthington. Elmer was in business until 1965 when he sold the dairy to his son, Howard, who still runs the produce but no longer buys cream.
One of the area farmers, August Westphal, and his son, Lawrence, farmed 3 miles east of Marshall, milked cows from 1930 to 1965, and hauled bulk milk in 10-gallon cans to Young’s Dairy from 1930 to 1936. They hauled to Jeff’s Dairy from 1937 to 1947 and to Schwan’s Dairy from 1948 through 1965. The milk was also picked up by the Russell Co-op Creamery in bulk tank trucks. Westphal’s milked an average of 25 to 30 cows per day.
Some interesting side notes:
• ‘People tell of buying milk by the dipper-full (ladle for liquid) for a nickel back in the 1900s. It was brought in by farmers to sell in the streets.’ Quote from Lambert Boerboom.
• Some farmers attempted to add water to the milk to increase the volume. Because of this, a freeze test was developed to detect the added water.
• A thermostat record was kept for 30 days proving the pasteurization system was used to kill the bacteria in the milk.
Schwan’s Dairy. Paul bought out the other half of Neisen and Schwan’s in 1948 and built his own dairy plant on South Second Street (at the present location of corporate office on West College Drive), and in partnership with his wife, Alma, and son, Marvin. Together they became partners in Schwan’s Dairy, and they continued to bottle and pasteurize milk and sell it to the community…”
Sources: History of Dairies in Marshall, Marvin Kiel and Art Reese; “The Beginning – Schwan’s — The Early Years,” Schwan’s NEWS, Summer 1993.