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The Historic Muscoda Mile

The Importance of the Cheese Industry

The Cheese industry has carried a rich history with the Muscoda area. Dating back to pioneer days, we were recognized for dairy. First with butter to utilize the milk, and then the making of cheese became popular, primarily for the extended storage in those days.

The difference from those times was that milk became pasteurized which would change the taste, and storage methods would be improved with the packaging of cheese. The Factory System and historically, Anne Pickett would play a role in the developments that take place in Wisconsin.

Specifically in our area, by the turn of the century, there were well over two dozen cheese factories operating in the greater Muscoda area. Cheese production was a great commodity that the Muscoda factories became recognized for. Those cheese makers were skilled at their trade.

Cheese industry factories (like rural schools) were located close to one another, commonly not more than a few miles apart so that farmers could deliver their milk in cans by horse and wagon. A common milk can would hold 10 gallons of milk. Then with the development of trucks, often a full load of cans from several neighbors could be picked up and delivered in one trip.

In the village of Muscoda, the cheese factory was located on the S E corner of the village at 2nd Street and Catherine Street, what is now Highway 80 & 133.

This business would later be known as the Muscoda Cheese Factory & Creamery. Floyd Tisdale and William Recob built their warehouse West of Wisconsin Avenue and South of Front Street along the railroad for storing and transferring cheese. That warehouse was later owned by John Kirkpatrick.

The sign on the driver’s side door reads: “John Kirkpatick Inc., Wholesale Cheese.”
John Duffey, in his BITS OF HISTORY would note that around Muscoda “... really we were a cheese center for years in our area and the quality of cheese makers we produced made our cheese a much sought after product.“

H. L . Noyes also owned and operated a cheese warehouse further west on that same block. His son Luther Noyes took over. By 1965 the building would eventually become the Marathon Cheese cutting and wrapping plant. Julius Johnsrud is one of those in the local cheese industry that was known for picking up milk from farmers, and then delivering the milk cans to the factory for processing into cheese. This was before bulk tanks and bulk trucks were used in the more modern dairy era.

Eventually, it was Kenneth Meyers who was operating the Muscoda Cheese Factory & Creamery, selling the business to Meister Cheese in the mid 1960’s. Meisters would make the cheese, and then have Marathon Cheese cut and wrap the product for shipping. That was until a tragic fire in 1974 took place and the building burned to the ground. Meister Cheese would relocate and expand their operations in 1976 at the Industrial Park east of the village of Muscoda.

Four generations of Meister family ownership have built Meister Cheese into the company it is today. More Americans than ever are enjoying their responsibly-sourced artisan cheese. Shoppers find Meister Cheese products under many labels in grocery stores and top-quality restaurants across the U.S.

Meister Cheese - https://www.meistercheese.com/
Meister Cheese - https://www.meistercheese.com/