Milk Farm Restaurant
Karl A. Hess had the idea to build the Milk Farm restaurant in 1919, and it was finally built in Dixon in 1928. During World War II, Mr. Hess offered various deals, such as an all-you-can-drink milk contest for only 10 cents, pony rides for children, and reasonably priced chicken dinners. He quickly attracted many customers, both local and travelers. It was eventually featured in a 1940 issue of The Saturday Evening Post, effectively putting Dixon on the map and giving it the nickname “Dairy Town” (at the time, Dixon was at the very heartland of the California dairy industry). The Milk Farm became very popular for teenagers spending time together and people competing to break the record of the most milk consumed in order to get their names on the restaurant’s record board.
The restaurant stayed open for many decades until closing in 1986 after a large hole was blown in the roof during a violent windstorm. Yet, even after closing, the Milk Farm's several-story tall animated-cow road sign stayed illuminated for years afterward due to its local popularity. There were plans to have the restaurant repaired, but they were never acted upon. It was eventually decided that the restaurant should be removed because the building was slowly rotting away and vagrants had begun using the building for shelter and as a place to hide and sell illegal narcotics. The residents of Dixon, however, protested against the destruction of the building, citing its important place in Dixon History. The building was instead dismantled and placed into storage in February 2000. The sign remains standing.
Though the building is no longer at its original location, it has been placed in storage with the possibility of future restoration and placement in a local history museum. As of 2007 there are tentative plans to turn the property into a business plaza. The project is currently for sale after trading hands at a foreclosure sale. The current owners are pursuing development joint ventures and entertaining offers for sale.