A Slice of History: Centrally-Located Plant
As the county grew and roads improved, there was no longer the need for all of the little creameries dotting the Tillamook Valley to continue to receive milk and make cheese. The smooth, paved roads made it easier for the farmers to travel greater distances to deliver their milk. Many of the creameries began to consolidate their operations or shut down.
In 1948, four of the TCCA’s member creameries decided to make cheese as a single operation and together they formed the Tillamook Cheese and Dairy Association. This new association, in partnership with the already existing TCCA, constructed a large plant north of the city of Tillamook.
On Nov. 2, 1949, the entire county celebrated the dedication of the new, centrally-located plant. It was large and modern. An expansive wall of glass windows let the sunlight shine on the stainless steel cheese vats in the cheesemaking room. There was a warehouse, ice plant, whey condenser, milk bottling room, packaging department, laboratory for testing the quality of milk and cheese, and a production area for making cottage cheese, butter and ice cream.
There were also many innovative ideas, such as the triple-deck storage system in the warehouse to utilize all of the available floor-to-ceiling space, and a new machine allowing TCCA to replace the traditional glass milk bottles with paper cartons. There also was a continuous belt conveyor installed to move the full cans of milk into the plant.
It’s undergone a few expansions since then, but hidden within the walls of today’s plant still exists the original footprint of the 1949 plant.