Shenandoah County Library Archives

Shenandoah County Library Digital Archives

Ford and Cooley Dairy Bottle Cap

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Title

Ford and Cooley Dairy Bottle Cap

Subject

Dairy
Woodstock (Va)

Description

This picture shows a paper milk-bottle cap produced by Woodstock Virginia’s Ford-Cooley Dairy. The dairy was located just south of Woodstock near Narrow Passage. It operated from sometime in the 1930s until around 1960.

It would have been used to seal glass milk bottles. These bottles were used to store milk throughout most of the 20th century. Once the milk had been consumed, the bottles would have been returned to the milk producer.
Individuals could have purchased their milk at local stores, but most likely they would have had their milk delivered to their house via he local milkman. Many larger dairies offered this service until the late 20th century.

Production of the milk that went into these bottles, and other dairy products has been a regular part of Shenandoah County’s economy since cattle was introduced to the United States in the 18th century. Local farmers would have kept milk cows and used their milk, plus the cheese, butter, and cream produced from it, for their family’s personal use.

A few entrepreneurs created larger operations to support commercial cheese manufacturing during the middle of the 19th century. One notable cheese factory existed in the Forrestville community. However none of these developed into large scale enterprises or supported a drastic increase in the county’s dairy production.

Technological changes occurring at the turn of the 20th century changed this. For the first time milk, and other perishable products could be transported long distances via refrigerated rail cars. Valley farmers began to increase their production of milk and sell the surplus to residents of Washington DC who did not own their own cows.

Soon after this farms that raised only milk cows and commercial dairies designed to process this resource emerged. The largest in the area was Valley of Virginia Cooperative Milk Producers Association which was formed in 1926. It produced Shenandoah’s Pride Dairy products until it was sold in 2000.

Several other operations, including the Southern Dairy in Woodstock, also operated during the middle part of the 20th century. Today dairy production is conducted by larger, national corporations several of which operate plants in nearby Frederick and Rockingham Counties.

Today dairy production continues to be a major part of the county, and the Valley’s economy. Recent reports estimate there are over 1,800 milk cows in Shenandoah County and list the Valley as the state’s top milk producer.

Source

Herb Parker Shenandoah County History Collection: Woodstock Photographs, 1902-ca. 1970

Publisher

Shenandoah County Library

Citation

“Ford and Cooley Dairy Bottle Cap,” Shenandoah County Library Archives, accessed November 14, 2018, http://archives.countylib.org/items/show/5931.

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