Butter and Cheese Factory Map - 1899

Produced by State of New York,  Department of Agriculture

“In the early 1900s, dairy farming looked very different in northern New York and across the country. Small farms were the norm, and because they were limited to what they could do by hand and with minimal equipment, a typical dairy farm might boast between five to twenty head of cattle, and not much more.

Farms produced for their own consumption and to supply their immediate locale, but most milk was transformed quickly into a more stable product like cheese and butter. Farmers or their family members would drop off their milk by wagon (and later by automobile) at a local cheese plant. These milk processing plants were everywhere. “If you take cheesemaking back to the 1900s, there was a cheesemaking plant about every three or four miles down the road, because the farmers didn’t have the cooling ability.”

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