Snohomish Dairy Products

This ramshackle collection of structures sported several company names over the 75 years of service, but it has always meant dairy products and jobs to the people of Snohomish; now, it’s a used car lot with an abandoned boiler.

[singlepic id=124 w=240 h=320 float=right] “Wm. H. Schott, right, firing furnace at condensery” reads the inscription on the reverse of last month’s historic image. The twin stacks to the boilers are clearly visible in the historic image; and the abandoned boiler is just left of center in the contemporary view. The stacked wood pictured in the left-hand foreground is the fuel for the wood fired boilers.

The first creamery in Snohomish County was located on this site when Noble Harvey leased land to John Alexander and E. C. Ferguson in 1894. Turned out that not enough milk was available in Snohomish and Alexander moved his operation to Stanwood. H. McMaster moved in with a small scale cheese making factory and two years later he was producing prize winning buttermilk as well.

By the turn of the century, the Snohomish Condensed Milk Company had its name in oversize letters on the main building of its thriving business of providing an market for the local dairymen. At some point, the company attracted the eye of East Coast investors and it was sold to a New York firm.

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Washington State Dairyman’s Association annual convention held at the Fraternal Hall, Stanwood, WA in 1907. [Courtesy Stanwood Area Historical Society]

By 1917, the Snohomish County Dairymen’s Association was established and took over the plants here and the largest operation in Arlington. The record is not clear, but it seems that the co-op was responsible for the name change to “Snohomish Dairy Products” as pictured in the historic image.

The name “Darigold” first appeared in 1925, and by 1931, the Snohomish operation was the manufacturing all the butter and ice cream sold by the Association under the Darigold name. The facility was updated in the early 1940s with a new concrete building and the installation of refrigerated holding tanks. Cottage cheese was introduced in 1954, in case you were wondering.

As is the way these days, consolidation of the plants, within the Dairymen’s Association, took place in the early 1960s and our plant was closed. Several business came and went until the structures were destroyed by a spectacular fire on June 12, 1979.

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“While Firemen reach through the burning walls with their hoses, one of the many trucks damaged in the June 12 fire burns in the background. This truck was soon pulled to safety.”

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“A Fireman clears out of the way as volunteers prepare to pull one of the many large trucks away from the burning structure. The truck’s rear tires were completely afire.”

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Published in the Snohomish County Tribune, March 21, 2012.