Blue Valley Creamery Company
Blue Valley Creamery Company was a company that operated many creameries and milk plants across the United States.
|Former type||Delaware corporation|
|Fate||Acquired by Beatrice Foods|
|Key people||Huston Wyeth, James A Walker, Otto F Hunziker|
|Products||Butter, Milk, Ice Cream|
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.
Blue Valley Creamery Company was founded by Huston Wyeth (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. 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. 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.
The Blue Valley Creamery Company was incorporated in Missouri on May 1, 1900. Business was to be conducted in St. Joseph. Initial stock holders are listed as G. M. Johnson, James A. Walker and H.S. Hamilton. The listed business purposes are "to manufacture, buy and sell, both at wholesale and retail all kinds of creamery and dairy products, especially milk, butter, cheese and ice creams, and any and all such other articles and products as are usually bought, manufactured and sold by parties or companies engaged in a general dairy and creamery business and to purchase, hold, manage, mortgage and convey, or otherwise acquire, control and dispose of, all such real and personal estate materials, machinery, applicances and fixtures, as may be necessary to effectually conduct and perform the business and purposes for which this company is incorporated." Capital stock was increased in 1901, 1905, and 1915 based on meetings held in St. Joseph with James A. Walker as secretary and, for the first two meetings, Huston Wyeth as chair and, for the last, L.C. Hamilton as chair. The 1915 statement lists shareholders, residence and share count as: Huston Wyeth, St. Joseph, Mo., 1672; L C Hamilton, St. Joseph, Mo., 1628; C J Walker, Chicago, Ills., 1100; and J A Walker, Chicago, Ills., 1100. On 13 May 1918, Blue Valley Creamery Company, a corporation organized under the laws of the State of Missouri "transferred all of its property and assets to the Blue Valley Creamery Company, a corporation organized under the laws of the State of Delaware" and dissolved.
Blue Valley was one of the larger centralizers from its inception, alleged by one source to be the largest in 1904. 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.) Total sales for the year 1920 were $22,963,038.66.
Blue Valley Creamery was acquired by Beatrice Creamery Company in 1939. This consolidation of the two Chicago-based centralizers raised regulatory eyebrows, but was not expressly challenged.
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. 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
- Grand Rapids, Michigan, 226 Market SW
- Grit, Dane County, Wisconsin (Dahle & Meyers)
- Hastings, Nebraska (apparently also bought and operated the Topaz Dairy) (1911-)
- Indianapolis, Indiana (1910-)
- Kansas City, Missouri
- Louisville, Kentucky
- Milwaukee, Wisconsin
- New York City, New York (10 Beach)
- Parsons, Kansas
- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
- Sauk Centre, Minnesota
- Sioux City, Iowa
- Springfield, Illinois
- Saint Joseph, Missouri (1902-)
- St. Louis, Missouri
- Watertown, South Dakota, 300-302 1st Avenue NE
Cream buyers were located in various locations.
The federal "Blue Valley" trademark (registration #1086552) for use in dairy products, namely milk, low fat milk, and butter, was filed 1977-06-30 by Beatrice Foods Company and is expired. Similarly, the "Blue Valley" trademark (registration #1088264) for use in dairy products, namely ice cream, was filed 1977-09-12 by Beatrice Foods and is expired. According to both registrations, the trademarks' first commercial use was in 1907. 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". References suggest that Blue Valley also transferred a "Valley Farm" trademark to Beatrice in 1939.
Patents, as assignee
- US patent 1585440, Vansant, Richard H., "Combined statement and check", published 1926-05-18
- US patent 1626452, Cook, Joseph, "Can steamer", published 1927-04-26
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 Intended 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. 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.
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
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.
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
"Interviews with Aaron J. Ihde (1909-2000)". University of Wisconsin. 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), http://www.webexhibits.org/butter/ref/MiltonEParker.pdf (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
Lowe, Belle; Nelson, P. Mabel; Buchanan, J. H. (1938). Shortening Value in Pastry and Cookies. The Physical and Chemical Characteristics of Lard and Other Fats in Relation to Their Culinary Value. Res. Bull. 242. Ames, IA: Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station. pp. 326–327, 333.
Blue Valley is listed as a Beatrice Foods' brand on the 1960 annual report, back cover.
- 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"
- Vatter, Harold G. (1979) . Small Enterprise and Oligopoly (PDF) (2nd ed.). Ayer Publishing. p. 16. ISBN 0-405-11508-3. "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, Washington: Government Printing Office, June 6, 1921, p. 68] were at that time primarily butter-producing organizations."
- King, Clyde Lyndon (1920). The Price of Milk (PDF). Philadelphia: The John C. Winston Company. pp. 130–131. Retrieved 2008-06-13. "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  plants widely separated. These large plants gradually added facilities for manufacturing the by-products of skim milk."
- Williams, Walter; Shoemaker, Floyd Calvin (1930). Missouri, Mother of the West. Chicago: The American Historical Society, Inc. pp. 34–35.
- Howard, Louis Conard (1901). Encyclopedia of the History of Missouri: A Compendium of History and Biography (PDF) 6. New York: The Southern History Company. p. 535. Retrieved 2008-06-13.
- Committee On Agriculture, United States. Congress. House (June 1921). Statement of Mr. J. A. Walker, Chicago, IL. Hearings Before the Committee on Agriculture, House of Representatives, 67th Congress, 1st session. Washington DC: Library of Congress. p. 106. Retrieved 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."
- "Business Name History - Blue Valley Creamery Company". SOS Home :: Business Services :: Business Entity Search. Jefferson City, MO: State of Missouri, Secretary of State. Retrieved 31 Dec 2010.5/1/1900 "Creation Filing" is Articles of Incorporation of the Blue Valley Creamery Company. Business to be conducted at St. Joseph, Buchanan County, Missouri. Initial stock holders listed as G. M. Johnson, James A. Walker and H.S. Hamilton. Purposes are "to manufacture, buy and sell, both at wholesale and retail all kinds of creamery and dairy products, especially milk, butter, cheese and ice creams, and any and all such other articles and products as are usually bought, manufactured and sold by parties or companies engaged in a general dairy and creamery business and to purchase, hold, manage, mortgage and convey, or otherwise acquire, control and dispose of, all such real and personal estate materials, machinery, applicances and fixtures, as may be necessary to effectually conduct and perform the business and purposes for which this company is incorporated." Executed on 30 Apr 1900. 9/23/1901 "Amend/Restate" is Statement for Increase of Capital Stock. On 21 Sep 1901, the stockholders met at the company's offices in St. Joseph, Buchanan County, Missouri with notice provided in the St. Joseph Weekly News. The "meeting was organized by choosing Huston Wyeth, a director in said company, chairman and James A. Walker secretary thereof. Authorized capital stock was increased from $5,000 to $12,500. 8/9/1905 "Amend/Restate" is substantively the same as the 1901 statement except increasing authorized capital stock from $12,500 to $200,000. 11/12/1915 "Amend/Restate" is substantively the same as the 1901 and 1905 statements except (1) the "meeting was organized by choosing L. C. Hamilton, a director in said company, chairman and James A. Walker secretary thereof" an d(2) increasing authorized capital stock from $200,000 to $750,000. Lists shareholders, residence and share count as: Huston Wyeth, St. Joseph, Mo., 1672; L C Hamilton, St. Joseph, Mo., 1628; C J Walker, Chicago, Ills., 1100; and J A Walker, Chicago, Ills., 1100. 5/15/1918 "With/Term/Dissolve" is Affidavit of Dissolution. On 13 May 1918, Blue Valley Creamery Company, a corporation organized under the laws of the State of Missouri "transferred all of its property and assets to the Blue Valley Creamery Company, a corporation organized under the laws of the State of Delaware" and dissolved.
- Williams, Walter (1904). The State of Missouri (PDF). Columbia, MO: Press of E. W. Stephens. p. 287. "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."
- United States Federal Trade Commission, ed. (1921). Report of the Federal Trade Commission on Milk and Milk Products 1914-1918 (PDF). Washington, DC: Govt Printing Office. p. 73. Retrieved 2008-06-13.
- Registration of Fictitious Name (– Scholar search). Springfield, MO: State of Missouri. 1939-03-15. Retrieved 2008-06-07.[dead link]Beatrice 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.
- Food industry and trade 11. Chilton Co. 1976. p. 169.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."
- 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. U.S. Govt Printing Office. 1945. p. 265. "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 ..."
- "Picture of "Blue Valley Creamery mercantile building", dated 1924" (JPG). Northwest Architectural Archives. University of Minnesota Libraries, Manuscripts Division. 1924. "Street address: 1137-43 West Jackson Boulevard. Building owner at time of photograph: Blue Valley Creamery Company. Contractor: E. W. Sproul Company."
- Knutson, Jonathan (1999-07-03). "Fargo, North Dakota - Businesses On First Avenue North". The Forum. Forum Communications Co. "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 . 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. Knutson, Jonathan (07/03/1999). "Pierce Co. optimistic about future". "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."
- Burton, William R.; Lewis, David J. (1916). Past and Present of Adams County, Nebraska (PDF). S.J. Clarke Pub. Co. pp. 99–100. "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."
- Dunn, Jacob Piatt (1919). Indiana and Indianans: A History of Aboriginal and Territorial Indiana and the Century of Statehood. Indianapolis, IN: Indianapolis Public Library, United States Work Projects Administration. p. 1600. Article on W. Edwin Smith
- "WHITE-ORR'S 1930 CLASSIFIED BUSINESS DIRECTORY--NEW YORK CITY SECTION". "Blue Valley Creamery Co. 10 Beach"
- Adams, John D. (1923). http://freepages.books.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~cooverfamily/siouxcity/sioux_17.htm#creamery
|chapterurl=missing title (help). Three Quarters of a Century of Progress 1848-1923 - A Brief Pictorial and Commercial History of Sioux City, Iowa. Verstengen Printing Company. p. 110. Retrieved 2008-06-01. "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."
- Christensen, Lawrence O; Kremer, Gary R. (2004). A History of Missouri: 1875 To 1919 (PDF). University of Missouri. p. 102. ISBN 0-8262-1559-9. "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."
- Bushnell, Michael (29 Aug 2012). "The Blue Valley Creamery wants your cows!". Northeast News. Retrieved 5 Jul 2014. "“Churners of the celebrated Blue Valley Butter. The largest exclusive manufacturers of pure cream in the world!” Those hearty boasts border the sides of this advertising postcard showcasing the factories of the Blue Valley Creamery Company. The front of the card shows three of the company’s factories as well as various views inside the plants, such as the Test Room, the Churn Room and a general office view. Blue Valley Creamery was founded in St. Joseph, Mo., in 1899 by Huston Wyeth and James A Walker. Wyeth, who’s father had founded the Wyeth Hardware Company as well as the Artesian Ice company years before, built up the business to be one of the largest cream producing operations in the country by 1917. By 1920, the company headquarters had moved to Chicago and plants were located in almost 30 Midwestern cities. The Kansas City plant was located at 501-503 W. 25th Street, where Studio Dan Meiners is today, although not in the same building. In 1939 Blue Valley Creamery was acquired by the Beatrice Creamery of Chicago and survives today under the ConAgra umbrella of companies, although I think we’d be hard-pressed to recognize Mr. Wyeth’s original operation given today’s vast modernization and corporate structures. This card was mailed from St. Joseph, Mo., on Sept. 1, 1908, to Mr. R. Julien of Amsterdam, Mo. The typewritten message is interesting to say the least. It reads: “Dear Sir, We are writing to thank you for your recent letter with a list of names of parties who have cows and who are not now patrons of ours. The picture will be forwarded to you as soon as completed. The process of making these pictures is somewhat tedious as it requires an immense amount of work and the exercise of great care. The artist tells us that it will not be safe to figure on being able to deliver them before September 15th anyhow. We are sure the quality of the work will justify the wait. Thanking you again for the names and in advance for your patience, we beg to remain, Yours very sincerely, BLUE VALLEY CREAMERY.”"
- Postcard of the Blue Valley Dairy building located at 300-302 1st Avenue NE, Watertown, SD
- U.S. P.T.O. Trademark Electronic Search System
- Trade-mark Renewal Application. Columbus, OH: State of Ohio. 1976-02-17. Retrieved 2008-06-07.
- "Blue Valley Creamery Institute, 1137 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago, Illinois" - "List of Members" (PDF). J Anim Sci (American Society of Animal Production): 220. 1930. Retrieved 2008-05-23."List of Members" (PDF). J Anim Sci (American Society of Animal Production): 322. 1931. Retrieved 2008-05-23.
- Faris, John (1940). Who's Who in Nebraska. Lincoln, NE: State Journal Printing Co. p. 3.