Andover and Its Milk Plants

Written by William A. Greene 2014
Info from History of Allegany County, N.Y. 1879
Allegany County and its People 1896
Andover News Papers


Elm Valley milk plant

In the early years of Allegany County, the principal branch of agriculture was dairy farming. The following figures, showing the extent of this interest, are extracted from the report of the census of 1875: Average number of milk cows kept in 1874: 1,415; in 1875m 4,561; number of cows whose milk was sent to the factory in 1874, 711; in 1875, 802: butter made in families in 1874, 74,667 pounds: milk sold in market, 4,250 gallons. Nothing mentioned about cheese.

In the 1896 Allegany County History book, there is nothing written about milk cows nor butter, but three cheese factories have been built in Andover.

The first factory mentioned was built in Elm Valley on the Elm Valley Road. It was built in 1868 by Sylvester Hamilton and in 1881 it was purchased by Uriah W. Stratton. In 1883 Mr. Stratton enlarged the building. He used the milk of about 600 cows and in 1893, his factory made 179,000 pounds of cheese.

The Andover Cheese Factory was located in Andover and was built by A. D. Brown in 1867, and has since been owned by Shant & Brown, Shant, Brown & Robinson, Robinson & Canfield, George E. Brown and Clark & Snyder. Clark and Snyder purchased the factory from George E. Brown in early 1879. The manufactory was erected as a cost of about $6,000 and has done an extensive business. During the season of 1878, 2,347,761 pounds of milk were received and 232,919 pounds of cheese were manufactured.

In 1891 the South Andover Cheese Factory was built by the Coyle Brothers. It was located in the south part of town. The milk of 260 cows was used in 1894 to make 85,000 pounds of cheese.

When the industrial revolution started picking up, many of the young men and families left the county and headed to the cities to work in the factories and make big money. Along with the money was the luxury of working shorter hours and fewer days a week.

With people moving to the cities something had to be done to get milk to them. So milk plants started being built to get the milk to them. Along with the milk plants, farmers started building bigger barns to hold more cattle to produce more milk. Now instead of milking the cows by hand, milking machines were invented that ran off a vacuum pump that was powered by small steam engines and then later by electric. So we have gone from milking a handful of cows to 30 to 50 head of cattle.

The farmers had to get the milk to these new milk plants and at first it was done by horses pulling buckboards loaded with the farmer’s milk and maybe a neighbor or two’s milk. As time went on gas-powered cars and trucks were invented and they replaced the horse drawn buckboards.

The cows were milked twice a day and each morning the milk was taken to those new milk plants that were being built to be processed and moved on to the cities where it was finished into milk to drink, made into ice cream, butter and other dairy products. 

The first milk plant in Andover was built in 1906 in Elm Valley by the Howell Condensed Milk and Cream Company. They purchased the land from Jacob and Electa Hann. The land was located very close to the Erie Railroad so trains could transport the milk to its destination at a much faster time than trucks. I have no clue as to where the milk was sent.
In 1936, the Borden Company purchased the building and property. In 1940 the station closed and the building was torn down and the property reverted to the ownership of Jacob Hann Jr.

 Brown and Bailey Condensery 1908

In 1908 the Condensery, located at the West end of Greenwood Street was built. The Brown and Bailey Condensed Milk Company of Brooklyn, New York were the owners. It started its operation the same year in making super-heated condensed milk with butter fat of 10.5% for making ice cream and 8.50% for coffee cream. Brown & Bailey controlled all of the condensed milk in New York City from 1908 until 1928. After that time, they concentrated in skim cream, casein for making paint and several sizes of cheddar and wash curd cheese.

In 1935, the plant was sold to the Oxford Products Co., of Brooklyn thereby making this building a receiving and shipping plant for milk. The milk shipped to New York was for fluid use, and the milk shipped to Galeton, Pennsylvania was for manufacture of milk products.

The plant was next operated under the name of Eisenberg Farms, Inc. All of the milk shipped to New York City was bottled and sold to stores and hospitals, and also made into ice cream at their plant in Brooklyn.


 Brown and Bailey Condensery 1910

Many men from the Village were associated with our Condensery, among whom were William Snyder, John Snyder, Frank Raufenbarth, Burr Ruger, George Wereley, Orlo Baker, William Burger, and Carl Childs. The last operators of the Andover Plant were Leo Snyder and Bernard Burger.

Sunnydale Farms, Inc. in Andover closed December 1, 1969. At that time most of the milk was picked up by bulk tank trucks. An unloading room for these trucks had been added to the north side of the plant in 1964. Pryor to that, each farmer brought his own milk to the plant where it was weighed and tested and the loaded into large tanker trucks and shipped to New York City each day.

When the plant was closed, the milk was transferred to the Sunnydale Plant in Galeton, Pennsylvania. Working in the Andover Plant at this time were: Bernard Burger, manager; Laverne Saulteis, field man; Ernest Milligan, Charles D. Lehman and Carl Lamphier. The truck drivers were Gordon Miller, Orville Perkins, Carl Greenfield and Richard Darrin; David Herr was the bookkeeper. Also employed during the last few years were: Peg and Malcolm Crittenden, Russell Crittenden, Gary Hempell, Paul Rogers and Clair Jackson. At the time of the transfer, Ernest Milligan retired; the bulk tank drivers, Burger and Saulter were sent to Galeton.

D & L Feeds, Inc. bought the building and lot in 1971. They used the building and lot to store equipment and supplies. In October of 2014 the property was sold to Dave Davis.


 Dairymen's League Plant 1939

In May of 1920, a group of men formed an enterprise called “The Dairymen of Andover”. Their organization started growing rapidly and soon had some forty men buying shares of $25.00 each to buy a plot of ground, so they might build a plant of their own.

For a year of so everything laid idle waiting for development. Meanwhile the business men of the town were eager to be of assistance and furnished available places for unloading points, where the milk was unloaded and reloaded onto trucks and taken over the hills to a larger plant in Whitesville. Owning to the great expense in trucking over the bad roads, the plan was abandoned, and soon plans were underway for the building of a plant in Andover. Undoubtedly during those first affairs of the county, W. U. Rexford and Mr. Utter assisted by L. K. Crump should share the credit of helping Andover Dairymen to have the fine plant.

In March of 1922, the Dairymen’s League Co-Operative Association broke ground on the local dairymen’s lot on Maple Street for a skimming station. The building is rushed to completion so that it would be opened to the local dairymen by April 1st, when their present milk contract with the Hornell people expired.

A large 50-horse boiler had been shipped from Corey, Pa., and milk separators and Casine machines were on their way to Andover and would be here by the time the building was ready to receive them.

The plant to be erected now would be only a temporary emergency one, because of the necessity for quick work. The permanent plans were not yet completed, but all of the machinery put into the temporary building would be such as can later be utilized in the permanent plant.

As this temporary plant the milk would be run thru the separators and the farmers could purchase the sterilized skim milk for 10 cents a can to feed calves and hogs, all they cared to haul home. That remaining would be made into casin, and sold for manufacturing purposes.

 Dairymen's League Plant 1950

A week later they had a building about 20 by 50 feet constructed, a concrete floor all in and machinery being installed. A large boiler was delivered at the first of the week and was being installed. More machinery would begin to arrive.
I have no exact date as to when the Dairymen’s League opened their plant for business but it was in the month of April, 1922. The plant grew steadily in size and equipment. Dewy Northrup became their superintendent pretty much from the beginning and later was assisted by Raymond Briggs. Milk was delivered there from Alfred, Elm Valley, Greenwood and the surrounding communities, then cooled and taken by trucks to the Borden Plant in Belmont.

Without any warning it was over. August 3, 1950: Andover News; “Local League Plant Closed.” The Andover Dairymen’s League plant closed August 1st and League milk from this area is being trucked to Arkport. That was all that was written, nothing else followed. I don’t know what happened to the equipment or anything else.

Finally the old plant was sold. A Ralph E. Miles purchased the building in August of 1955 and made it into his home, where he lived until his death. His daughter later lived there and now his grandson.

How sad it is that the dairy industry was so important to this county over the years, and now there are but a handful of dairy farms left. As a boy there were 21 farms between Alfred Station and Wellsville. Today there are none.

I grew up on a farm in Alfred Station. Our farm started in 1845 and lasted until 1969. My great, great grandfather started that farm and it was passed down from generation to generation, just like most other farms. My dad was the last one to farm there. None of us children wanted to farm it. It now sits unused. My ancestors would roll over in their graves if they saw it now. Maybe it’s a good thing they can’t.