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Skagit River Journal

of History & Folklore
Free Resources Stories & Photos
(Seattle & Northern 1890)
Covers from British Columbia to Puget sound. Counties covered:
Skagit, Whatcom, Island, San Juan. An evolving history dedicated
to the principle of committing random acts of historical kindness

Noel V. Bourasaw, editor 810 Central Ave., Sedro-Woolley, Washington, 98284
Home of the Tarheel Stomp Mortimer Cook slept here & named the town Bug

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Short features for Sedro and Woolley Pre-1899

Cheese Factory proposed

Skagit County Times, May 2, 1896
      Mark Leslie, an experienced cheese and butter maker of Waseca, Minnesota, arrived in Sedro-Woolley on Thursday's passenger [train], and immediately set to work to get the proposition for a cheese factory before the people.
      Mr. Leslie has come prepared to put the cheese factory in operation as a quickly as the machinery can be put in place; provided that the farmers and all others interested pledge their support and stand by the proposition.
      The factory will require at least the milk of 200 cows to support it and will be able to dispose of the milk of 400 cows. The more milk the higher the price paid, as the cost of extracting the product is correspondingly decreased. Each and every consignment of milk will be thoroughly tested by the Babcock test, which is acknowledged to be the most accurate by the United States experiment station, and all milk will be paid for according to the quantity of cheese it will produce. Thus, the farmer who has rich milk need not fear that his milk will be paid for at the same rate per quantity as that of poorer quality.
      Posters have been circulated through the county calling a meeting of the farmers and all others interested for Tuesday, May 5, 1896, in the Woolley council chambers over P.M. Hutton's store. Mr. Leslie will be present and will answer all questions in regard to the proposition. It is urgently requested that all interested be present, as Mr. Leslie is a stranger and wishes to settle the business particulars at once. Unless satisfactory arrangements can be made he will seek another locality.
      The Sedro Land & Improvement Co. [Junius B. Alexander] has agreed to furnish a site, and it is expected that the citizens of Sedro-Woolley will provide for the buildings. If everything is satisfactory the factory will be producing cheese by June 1st.
      The controlling factor in the business is the supply of milk, therefore, the active co-operation of the farmer is desired. It is a proposition of dollars and cents. The money will come in as regularly as a pension, cash on delivery if so desired.

      Ed. note: As we learn from this website, the Babcock's test for milk was named for Stephen Moulton Babcock. It is a "test to determine the amount of butterfat in milk by centrifuging a mixture of equal parts of milk and sulphuric acid. Introduced in 1890, the test discouraged milk adulteration, stimulated improvement of dairy production, and aided in factory manufacture of cheese and butter." We do not whether the farmers of the area contracted with Mr. Leslie. His pitch reminds us of Professor Harold Hill in the Music Man. We do not know of any cheese factory upriver until the one that the Louis Castrilli family established in Hamilton someone after they immigrated from Panone, Italy, in 1906.
      The major discovery of this article in the May 2, 1896, edition of the Skagit County Times is the initial location of the Woolley city council chambers. By the early 1900s the combination city hall, fire station and police station was in a building that stood about where the alley called Second street now continues through north-to-south, just east of the U.S. Post Office.

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Read the history websites of our two newest sponsors and supporters:
Oliver Hammer Clothes Shop at 817 Metcalf street in downtown Sedro-Woolley, 82 years
Bus Jungquist Furniture at 829 Metcalf street in downtown Sedro-Woolley, 36 years

Peace and quiet at the Alpine RV Park, just north of Marblemount on Hwy 20
Park your RV or pitch a tent by the Skagit river, just a short driver from Winthrop or Sedro-Woolley

College Way Antique Mall, 1601 E. College Way, Mount Vernon, WA 98273, (360) 848-0807
Where you will find wonderful examples of Skagit county's past, seven days a week

North Cascade Ford, formerly Vern Sims Ford Ranch,
West Ferry street and Crossroads/Highway 20
either on the Sedro-Woolley page or directly at www.northcascadeford.com
DelNagro Masonry Brick, block, stone — See our work at the new Hammer Heritage Square
See our website www.4bricklayers.com
33 years experience — 15 years as a bonded, licensed contractor in the valley
Free estimates, reference, member of Sedro-Woolley Chamber (360) 856-0101

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