March 26, 2012 in City

Then and Now: Dairy dreams

Brothers led innovation, growth in regional industry
Brothers George and David Brown wanted to make it big in the butter business. They journeyed to Spokane in 1888 and formed Hazelwood Farms, named after their father’s farm in Illinois, near the Hayford-Cheney Road and the Sunset Highway. Fifteen years later they claimed to be the second-largest dairy in the country and were encouraging local farmers to add cows to their wheat farms. Farmers as far as 100 miles away put their separated cream on the train to Spokane after the morning milking. The Hazelwood Creamery sold ice cream and candies in Portland until the 1930s. An 1899 newspaper story told of the “Hazelwood men,” including their brother-in-law John L. Smith, joining forces with the Hanford Produce Co. to build the world’s largest butter plant in Sioux City, Iowa. The Eastern Washington Genealogical Society says the Browns were innovators in wrapped butter, pasteurized cream, baby formula and sanitary dairy practices. The cattle they bred became the foundation for the Carnation Milk Co.’s Holstein herd in the Seattle area. – Jesse Tinsley

1890s: The Hazelwood dairy shop and Louis Davenport’s restaurant are pictured on Post Street, just south of Sprague Avenue.

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Present day: The Washington Trust Bank building, left, now stands in place of the dairy and restaurant on Post Street in downtown Spokane.

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