Blue Valley Creamery Company

Blue Valley Creamery Company

Blue Valley Creamery Company was a company that operated many creameries and milk plants across the United States.

Infobox Defunct company
company_name = Blue Valley Creamery Company
slogan = Blue Valley Butter is Good Butter
company_type = Delaware corporation [But see Blue Valley Creamery Co. v. Zimmerman, 60 Pa.Super. 278, 1915 WL 4408 (Pa. Super. 1914): "The Blue Valley Creamery Company, a corporation duly incorporated under the laws of Illinois"]
fate = Acquired by Beatrice Foods
Predecessor =
successor = Beatrice Foods
foundation = abt 1900
defunct = 1939-03-01
location = National
industry = Dairy
products = Butter, Milk, Ice Cream
key_people = Huston Wyeth, James A Walker, Otto F Hunziker
num_employees =
parent =
subsid =


Before 1900, limitations in transportation and storage limited the geographic scope of creameries. To that time, creameries were primarily local, gathering cream from nearby dairy farms and distributed the produce locally. Also, cream separation was inefficient, primarily relying on gravity or centrifugal force. Advances in the railroad network and cold storage and practical implementation of a hand cream separator permitted creameries to serve larger areas and achieve economies of scale. These large de-localized creameries were referred to as "centralizers" - especially by those who suspected them of anti-competitive practice. [cite book |last=Vatter |first=Harold G. |authorlink= |coauthors= |editor= |others= |title=Small Enterprise and Oligopoly |origdate= |origyear=1955 |origmonth= |url= |format=PDF |accessdate= |accessyear= |accessmonth= |edition=2nd |series= |volume= |date= |year=1979 |month= |publisher=Ayer Publishing |location= |language= |isbn=0405115083 |oclc= |doi= |id= |pages=16 |chapter= |chapterurl= |quote=Attacks on the problem of widening the procurement area brought a new type of creamery organization into existence soon after the turn of the century--the 'centralizer.' This type does not obtain its supply of raw material from one community only, but may gather it from a radius of as much as 500 miles. Local (cooperative or otherwise) creameries usually produce on the average from 50,000 pounds to approximately 1,000,000 pounds a year, whereas the centralizers produce from 200,000 pounds to more than 21,000,000 pounds per annum. Among the large centralizers that produce between 10,000,000 and 21,000,000 pounds are the Beatrice Creamery Co., the Fox River Creamery Co. (absorbed by the Beatrice Creamery Co.), the Blue Valley Creamery Co., the California Central Creameries, and the Fairmont Creamery Co. The firms mentioned in [U.S., FTC, Report on Milk and Milk Products, 1914-1918, op. cit., p. 68] (from which the above is cited) were at that time primarily butter-producing organizations.] [cite book |last=King |first=Clyde Lyndon |authorlink= |coauthors= |editor= |others= |title=The Price of Milk |origdate= |origyear= |origmonth= |url= |format=PDF |accessdate=2008-06-13 |accessyear= |accessmonth= |edition= |series= |volume= |date= |year=1920 |month= |publisher=The John C. Winston Company |location=Philadelphia |language= |isbn= |oclc= |doi= |id= |pages=130-131 |chapter= |chapterurl= |quote= About 1890 the centrifugal separator was placed on the market and Professor Babcock gave to the industry in the Babcock tester a quick and reliable method of ascertaining the percentage of butter fat in milk. Shortly after this, cold storage on a large scale was perfected. Following the development of cold storage plants on a large scale came the large butter centralizers such as the Beatrice Creamery Company, the Blue Valley Creamery Company, the Fairmount Creamery Company and the Hanford Produce Company, the largest of which makes from 15,000,000 to 20,000,000 pounds annually, in many [131] plants widely separated. These large plants gradually added facilities for manufacturing the by-products of skim milk.]

Blue Valley Creamery Company was founded by Huston Wyeth [cite book |last=Williams |first=Walter |authorlink= |coauthors=Floyd Calvin Shoemaker|title=Missouri, Mother of the West |year=1930 |publisher=The American Historical Society, Inc. |location=Chicago |pages=34-35] (1863-1925) and James A. Walker around 1900. Huston Wyeth's father, William Maxwell Wyeth, had built a hardware, saddlery and real estate empire in St. Joseph, Missouri. [cite book |last=Howard |first=Louis Conard |authorlink= |coauthors= |editor= |others= |title=Encyclopedia of the History of Missouri: A Compendium of History and Biography |origdate= |origyear= |origmonth= |url= |format=PDF |accessdate=2008-06-13 |accessyear= |accessmonth= |edition= |series= |volume=6 |date= |year=1901 |month= |publisher=The Southern History Company |location=New York |language= |isbn= |oclc= |doi= |id= |pages=535 |chapter= |chapterurl= |quote=] Wyeth took over the business and branched into other endeavors, including formation of the Artesian Ice & Cold Storage Company in 1892. James Walker had been involved in the dairy business since 1888.Citation | date=1921-06 | title =Statement of Mr. J. A. Walker, Chicago, IL | series =Hearings Before the Committee on Agriculture, House of Representatives, 67th Congress, 1st session | publication-place =Washington DC | publisher =Library of Congress | page =106 | url = | accessdate =2008-06-13 "Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, my name is J. A. Walker, 700 South Clinton Street, Chicago, Ill. I am vice president of the National Dairy Council, and vice president and treasurer of the National Dairy Show Association. I have been continuously connected with the creamery business since 1888. I am vice president of the Blue Valley Creamery Co., which has for the past 21 years been manufacturing creamery butter under the hand cream separator system, dealing directly with the farmers in the purchase of our cream. Our creameries and selling agencies are located in the following cities: Chicago, Ill.; Indianapolis, Ind.; Detroit, Mich.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; St. Joseph, Mo.; Sioux City, Iowa; Hastings, Nebr.; Parsons, Kans.; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Springfield, Ill.; Columbus, Ohio; Clinton, Ill; Louisville, Ky.; St. Louis, Mo.; Cleveland, Ohio; and New York City, N. Y. Our total sales for the year 1920 were $22,963,038.66."] Their respective experiences with cold storage and transportation on Wyeth's part and dairy on Walker's part likely contributed to the formation and success of the venture.

Blue Valley was one of the larger centralizers from its inception, alleged by one source to be the largest in 1904. [cite book |last=Williams |first=Walter |authorlink= |coauthors= |editor= |others= |title=The State of Missouri |origdate= |origyear= |origmonth= |url= |format=PDF |accessdate= |accessyear= |accessmonth= |edition= |series= |volume= |date= |year=1904 |month= |publisher=Press of E. W. Stephens |location=Columbia, MO |language= |isbn= |oclc= |doi= |id= |pages=287 |chapter= |chapterurl= |quote=The largest dealers in cream and exclusive manufacturers of pure creamery butter are the Blue Valley Creamery Company. They buy cream exclusively and make during the flush, a car load of butter a day and pay out one-half a million dollars a year for the raw material. Although less than three years old, this is the largest creamery in the world.] In 1917, Blue Valley hired noted dairy educator Otto Frederick Hunziker to establish a laboratory and manage manufacturing operations. According to the FTC, in 1918, Blue Valley Creamery Company was the fourth largest U.S. butter marketing company, producing 26,484,000 pounds, 3.2% of the total market. (Swift, Beatrice and Armour were larger.) [cite book |last= |first= |authorlink= |coauthors= |editor=United States Federal Trade Commission |others= |title=Report of the Federal Trade Commission on Milk and Milk Products 1914-1918 |origdate= |origyear= |origmonth= |url=,M1 |format=PDF |accessdate=2008-06-13 |accessyear= |accessmonth= |edition= |series= |volume= |date= |year=1921 |month= |publisher=Govt Printing Office |location=Washington, DC |language= |isbn= |oclc= |doi= |id= |pages=73 |chapter= |chapterurl= |quote=] Total sales for the year 1920 were $22,963,038.66.

Blue Valley Creamery was acquired by Beatrice Creamery Company in 1939. [Citation | date=1939-03-15 | title =Registration of Fictitious Name | place = Springfield, MO | publisher =State of Missouri | url= | accessdate = 2008-06-07Beatrice Creamery Company has purchased the business, good will, trade names, trade marks and other assets of the Blue Valley Creamery Company at above locations and will continue the business at said locations under the name of Blue Valley Creamery.] [Citation | last = | first = | year =1976 | title =Food industry and trade | publisher =Chilton Co | volume =11 | pages =169| url = | accessdate =Blue Valley "has been purchased by Beatrice Creamery Co. of the same city. The latter took over the fourteen Blue Valley plants as of March 1. Blue Valley products will continue to be distributed under that name."] This consolidation of the two Chicago-based centralizers raised regulatory eyebrows, but was not expressly challenged. [Citation | last = | first = | year =1945 | title =Hearings Before Subcommittee No. 3 of the Committee on the Judiciary, To Amend Sections 7 and 11 of the Clayton Act, House of Representatives, 79th Congress, first session | publisher =U.S. Govt Printing Office | volume = | pages =265| url = | accessdate = "The facts in the files of the Commission indicate that the acquisition of the business and assets of Blue Valley Creamery Co. by Beatrice Creamery Co. had the effect of substantially lessening competition between the acquiring corporation and the corporation who assets were acquired in the manufacture and ..."]


Blue Valley Creamery Company headquarters were in Chicago at 1137 West Jackson Boulevard. Some sources indicate South Jackson; 1920 and 1921 sources indicate an address of 700 South Clinton Street. [cite web |url= |title=Picture of "Blue Valley Creamery mercantile building", dated 1924 |accessdate= |accessmonthday= |accessdaymonth= |accessyear= |author= |last= |first= |authorlink= |coauthors= |date= |year= |month= |format= |work=Northwest Architectural Archives |publisher=University of Minnesota Libraries, Manuscripts Division |pages= |language= |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote=Street address: 1137-43 West Jackson Boulevard. Building owner at time of photograph: Blue Valley Creamery Company. Contractor: E. W. Sproul Company.] A Blue Valley Creamery Institute was found at the same address. This building appears to have been later used by Archibald Candy Corp., maker of Fannie May and Fanny Farmer candies. Blue Valley creameries and other offices were found from the east coast to the great plains, including:

*Bemidji, Minnesota
*Cedar Rapids, Iowa
*Cleveland, Ohio
*Clinton, Illinois
*Columbus, Ohio, 395-408 Grove Street
*Dardanelle, Arkansas
*Detroit, Michigan
*Duluth, Minnesota
*Fargo, North Dakota, 1019 First Avenue North [cite web |url= |title=Fargo, North Dakota - Businesses On First Avenue North |accessdate= |accessmonthday= |accessdaymonth= |accessyear= |author= |last=Knutson |first=Jonathan |date=1999-07-03|work=The Forum |publisher=Forum Communications Co. |pages= |language= |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote=The following are businesses located along First Avenue. The dates shown are the dates of the telephone book or other source from which the address is taken. By 1952, First Avenue offices seem to be nests of insurance companies!"1019: Blue Valley Creamery [1925] . Pierce Co., office supplies and furniture [1952-6] ." So presumably, in 1925 Blue Valley's Fargo facility was located at 1019 First Avenue North and the building was later used by Pierce Company. cite web |url= |title= |accessdate= |accessmonthday= |accessdaymonth= |accessyear= |author= |last= |first= |authorlink= |coauthors= |date= |year= |month= |format= |work= |publisher= |pages= |language= |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote=Originally located on the 100 block of 8th Street South, [Pierce Company] in 1939 purchased, renovated and moved into the former Blue Valley Creamery building at 1019 First Ave. N.]
*Grand Rapids, Michigan, 226 Market SW
*Grit, Dane County, Wisconsin (Dahle & Meyers)
*Hastings, Nebraska (apparently also bought and operated the Topaz Dairy) (1911-) [cite book |last=Burton |first=William R. |authorlink= |coauthors=David J. Lewis |editor= |others= |title=Past and Present of Adams County, Nebraska |origdate= |origyear= |origmonth= |url= |format=PDF |accessdate= |accessyear= |accessmonth= |edition= |series= |volume= |date= |year=1916 |month= |publisher=S.J. Clarke Pub. Co |location= |language= |isbn= |oclc= |doi= |id= |pages=99-100 |chapter= |chapterurl= |quote=The Blue Valley Creamery plant was established in Hastings in 1911 and within two years had doubled its output. Bulletin No. 31 of the Nebraska State Department of Labor places the output of butter of the Blue Valley Creamer Company for 1915 at 1,000,000 pounds.]
*Indianapolis, Indiana (1910-) [cite book |last=Dunn |first=Jacob Piatt |authorlink= |coauthors= |editor= |others= |title=Indiana and Indianans: A History of Aboriginal and Territorial Indiana and the Century of Statehood |origdate= |origyear= |origmonth= |url= |format= |accessdate= |accessyear= |accessmonth= |edition= |series= |volume= |date= |year=1919 |month= |publisher=Indianapolis Public Library, United States Work Projects Administration |location=Indianapolis, IN |language= |isbn= |oclc= |doi= |id= |pages=1600 |chapter= |chapterurl= |quote= Article on W. Edwin Smith]
*Kansas City, Missouri
*Louisville, Kentucky
*Milwaukee, Wisconsin
*New York City, New York (10 Beach) [cite web |url= |title=WHITE-ORR'S 1930 CLASSIFIED BUSINESS DIRECTORY--NEW YORK CITY SECTION |accessdate= |accessmonthday= |accessdaymonth= |accessyear= |date= |year= |month= |format= |work= |publisher= |pages= |language= |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote=Blue Valley Creamery Co. 10 Beach]
*Parsons, Kansas
*Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
*Sauk Centre, Minnesota
*Sioux City, Iowa [cite book |last=Adams |first=John D. |authorlink= |coauthors= |editor= |others= |title=Three Quarters of a Century of Progress 1848-1923 - A Brief Pictorial and Commercial History of Sioux City, Iowa |origdate= |origyear= |origmonth= |url= |format= |accessdate=2008-06-01 |accessyear= |accessmonth= |edition= |series= |volume= |date= |year=1923 |month= |publisher=Verstengen Printing Company |location= |language= |isbn= |oclc= |doi= |id= |pages=110 |chapter= |chapterurl= |quote=BLUE VALLEY CREAMERY CO., Manufacturers of Creamery Butter: The Blue Valley Creamery Co., with 21 large butter making plants in this country, selected Sioux City as the site for a plant in 1907. Since that time it has become recognized as the plant in the chain that produces the best butter. Thirty-five people are employed during the fall and winter. This is increased to 60 or more during the busy spring and summer season. Cream is purchased direct from the farmers in Iowa. South Dakota and Nebraska, and occasionally from Wyoming. No receiving stations are operated by this company who maintain that they prefer to give the margin of profit to the producer than to the middleman. Another advantage of this method of obtaining cream is that it enables the plant to better grade the cream and keep the quality uniform. The butter bearing the Blue Valley label is sold in quarter, half and one-pound packages.]
*Springfield, Illinois
*Saint Joseph, Missouri (1902-) [cite book |last=Christensen |first=Lawrence O |coauthors=Gary R. Kremer |title=A History of Missouri: 1875 To 1919 |url= |format=PDF |year=2004 |publisher=University of Missouri |location= |isbn=0826215599 |pages=102 |chapter= |chapterurl= |quote=In 1902, the Blue Valley Creamery began operation in St. Joseph. It used cream separated by farmer employing hand separators, a new trend in the industry, and it made more than six million pounds of butter in 1902, making it one of the largest creameries in the country producing only butter.]
*St. Louis, Missouri
*Watertown, South Dakota, 300-302 1st Avenue NE [ [ of the Blue Valley Dairy building located at 300-302 1st Avenue NE, Watertown, SD] ]

Cream buyers were located in various locations.

Intellectual Property

Trademark Electronic Search System] A trademark registration on file with the Ohio Secretary of State indicates the "Date [] when the trade-mark was first used anywhere" was "September 1894". [Citation | date =1976-02-17 | title =Trade-mark Renewal Application | place = Columbus, OH | publisher =State of Ohio | url = | accessdate = 2008-06-07] References suggest that Blue Valley also transferred a "Valley Farm" trademark to Beatrice in 1939.

Patents, as assignee
inventor-last =Cook
inventor-first =Joseph
inventorlink =
inventor2-last =
inventor2-first =
inventorlink2 =
publication-date =1927-04-26
issue-date =
title =Can steamer
country-code =
description =
patent-number =1626452

inventor-last =Vansant
inventor-first =Richard H
inventorlink =
inventor2-last =
inventor2-first =
inventorlink2 =
publication-date =1926-05-18
issue-date =
title =Combined statement and check
country-code =
description =
patent-number =1585440


Various Blue Valley products are found in antique markets. Examples include
* Ink blotters with the slogan: "Good cream deserves a "good" market ― Blue Valley"
* Cream cans

Federal Trade Commission Action

In [ FTC Complaint No. 1064] , 1925: "The respondent is engaged in the manufacture of butter and obtains its cream or butterfat from farmers by the direct-shipment plan, Involving the use of cans or containers which are the sole property of the farmer and which are accepted for shipment by the transportation companies without record of shipment other than the shipping instructions attached to each can. Unfair methods of competition are charged In that the respondent adopted a plan of substituting for all other tags or shipping instructions found on the cans, Including those Inteded to insure the safe return of the can to the owner, its undetachable tags or plates bearing the permanent shipping instructions, 'When full ship to Blue Valley Creamery Co.,' thereby making it difficult for farmers to ship cream to competitors and bringing about the receipt by the responsdent of cream intended for its competitors, In alleged violation of section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission act. Disposition: A stipulation having been entered Into in lieu of testimony, the commission entered the following order: It is now ordered that respondent, Blue Valley Creamery Co., Its officers, directors, agents, representatives, and employees, cease and desist from attaching to shipping cans or containers not belonging to respondent any plates or tags bearing shipping instructions such as 'When full ship to the Blue Valley Creamery Co.,' or their equivalent, without the consent of the owner of such cans."

Active Supporter of National Associations

Blue Valley was a corporate supporter of the American Dairy Science Association, National Dairy Council and the American Society of Animal Production. ["Blue Valley Creamery Institute, 1137 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago, Illinois" - cite journal | title = List of Members | journal = J Anim Sci | volume = | issue = | pages = 220 | publisher = American Society of Animal Production | date=1930 | url = | format=PDF | accessdate = 2008-05-23cite journal | title = List of Members | journal = J Anim Sci | volume = | issue = | pages = 322 | publisher = American Society of Animal Production | date=1931 | url = | format=PDF | accessdate = 2008-05-23] In 1911-1913, Blue Valley funded scholarships given to student dairy breeders at the National Dairy Show. Otto Frederick Hunziker, head of Blue Valley's research laboratory, was a charter member and third president of ADSA. Edward K. Slater was a Blue Valley public relations manager in Chicago who helped found the National Dairy Council. H. C. Darger (Chicago), L. S. Holler (Chicago), W. A. Cordes (Chicago) were also Blue Valley employees and early members of ADSA.

Other Employees

Stanley H. Abbott (1892-) was a cream buyer for Blue Valley in 1920-22, either for the Louisville plant or based in Louisville. Then he was a buyer at St. Joseph in 1922. In 1923-1939 he managed the Blue Valley's Hastings plant and from 1929-1939 also managed Topaz Dairy. Before Blue Valley, he was assistant dairy commissioner of ND, 1917-18 and, in 1917-18, assistant market specialist in dairy products at the USDA, in DC & Chicago [cite book |last=Faris |first=John |title=Who's Who in Nebraska |url= |format= |accessdate= |accessyear= |accessmonth= |edition= |year=1940 |month= |publisher=State Journal Printing Co. |location=Lincoln, NE |isbn= |oclc= |doi= |id= |pages=3 |chapter= |chapterurl= |quote= ]

[ Aaron John Ihde] (1909-2000), staff chemist, research and development, Blue Valley Creamery, Chicago, 1931-1938. Later professor of chemistry at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and author.

Potential Sources of Additional Information

D.H. Ramsey Library Special Collections, Univ. of North Carolina Asheville, [ FOOD FILE, PG 4] : "Blue Valley Creamery Co. - source for butter 1922"

National Archives' Central Plains Region (Kansas City), RG 9 Records of the National Recovery Administration, [ Folder 5: Blue Valley Creamery Co., PRA]

University of Illinois at Chicago, [ A Century of Progress Records] , Box 64, Folder 1-1845 Blue Valley Creamery Co. "A Century of Progress International Exposition was held in Chicago during the summers of 1933 and 1934 to commemorate the incorporation of the city in 1833. This collection consists of the incomplete operating records of A Century Progress World's Fair."

[ The Papers of Herbert Hoover] , [ Commerce Papers Series] (NUCMC 70-187, RLIN): "Blue Valley Creamery Institute, 1925", [ Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum] , 210 Parkside Drive, West Branch, IA 52358, administered by the National Archives and Records Administration

Grand Rapids Public Library, [ The Michigan Tradesman, 1883-1944] : Blue Valley Creamery Co., New corporations, 1942-03-04, page 13, col 4

cite web |url= |title=Interviews with Aaron J. Ihde (1909-2000) |accessdate= |accessmonthday= |accessdaymonth= |accessyear= |author= |last= |first= |authorlink= |coauthors= |date= |year= |month= |format= |work= |publisher=University of Wisconsin |pages= |language= |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote= 2 hour interview (1963) with William K. Alderfer addresses "Work at Blue Valley Creamery Company in Chicago; Otto Hunziger" and other materials.

Photograph of [ Blue Valley Creamery mercantile building] , "1137-43 West Jackson Boulevard", dated 1924, University of Minnesota Libraries, Manuscripts Division, Northwest Architectural Archives, Record #atc3467

Parker, Milton E., "Princely Packets of Golden Health" (A History of Butter Packaging), (1948)

Library of Congress, [ Selected Pre-1974 Corporate Annual Reports on Microfiche] , records on Beatrice Creamery Co. (1911-1946) and Beatrice Food Co. (1947-1973), Control No. 68

Blue Valley is listed as a Beatrice Foods' brand on the [ 1960 annual report] , back cover.

Reference List

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