Cheese Factory

From Berne, NY - a Helderberg Hilltown
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Postcard of building of the State Road from Berne to Knox showing the Cheese Factor in the background with temporary housing for the workers to the side of it.

1878 the Cheese Factory was built in 1878 on the farm of Thomas J. Wood. He had given the land to the Berne and Knox Cheese Factory Association. The production was fairly great as the factory made 495 pounds of cheese in a single day. In the production of cheese, 10½ pounds of milk were required to make one pound of cheese. James Hart was the cheese maker and he received $1.25 for each 100 pounds of cheese he made. The farmers who brought in the milk were charged $1.50 by the Association for each 100 pounds of cheese made. The Association in turn probably sold most of the cheese for the farmers and distributed the profits to them. James Hart died in September, 1904. The factory stopped production in 1907 and on November 16, 1907 the cheese factory and fixtures were sold at public auction.[1]. The building burned down on Halloween night in 1973.

It should be noted that the factory would not receive milk or make cheese on Sunday. Farming, throughout the years, must be remembered as one of the most important occupations for the people in the Town. The old stone walls remind us of the hard days’ work the farmers did.

This photo was developed from a glass negative and shows incredible detail. Click on it two or three times to enlarge it and look at the shacks of the road workers.
courtesy of Willard Osterhout