Who knew the opening of the Carson Valley Creamery would spark a romance? Love was probably the last thing on the mind of local ranchers when the creamery opened in 1891. But as luck would have it, local Fritz Dangberg found himself a wife as a result of his job as a teamster for the creamery. Dangberg got a job hauling butter and cheese from the creamery to Carson City, where he would stable his horses at Andersen’s Hay Yard. As a result, he got to know the owner’s sister-in-law, Metta Winkelman. And in 1897, Fritz and Metta were married.
The new Carson Valley creamery found ready buyers for its wares as far away as Virginia City and Carson City. But the San Francisco market proved a harder nut to crack. Turns out the alfalfa-fed to cows here in Carson Valley produced milk with a different flavor than hay-fed critters. That finally changed after a tenacious butter dealer spent “considerable money” educating San Francisco consumers about Carson Valley’s “superior” quality. Eventually, Carson Valley Creamery took home three separate mid-winter fair medals for its fine butter: in 1894, 1903, and 1904.
For a while, the Carson Valley Creamery ruled the roost, processing a million pounds of milk from local ranches in 1897 alone. But before long, competitors began to show up. By 1909 there were three creameries operating in the valley, each trying to out-do the other.
The Carson Valley Creamery finally closed its doors for good on May 1, 1914. But today, over a century later, this proud old building still stands: a silent reminder that there’s so much cool history here in Carson Valley.
The old creamery building is still beautiful today, in its own rustic way! The property is privately-owned, so not open to the public. But to view this photogenic piece of Carson Valley history from the road, turn east on Waterloo Lane from Highway 88, then watch for the building on your right (west), just after the sweeping turn.
To get the whole story, click here to read more about the Old Creamery.
Story and photos by Karen Dustman, a local author who shares her passion for history through her fun books, blog, and free history newsletter. Contact her at www.Clairitage.com.