By MICHAEL BUSHNELL
August 29, 2012
“Churners of the celebrated Blue Valley Butter. The largest exclusive manufacturers of pure cream in the world!” Those hearty boasts border the sides of this advertising postcard showcasing the factories of the Blue Valley Creamery Company.
The front of the card shows three of the company’s factories as well as various views inside the plants, such as the Test Room, the Churn Room and a general office view.
Blue Valley Creamery was founded in St. Joseph, Mo., in 1899 by Huston Wyeth and James A Walker. Wyeth, who’s father had founded the Wyeth Hardware Company as well as the Artesian Ice company years before, built up the business to be one of the largest cream producing operations in the country by 1917. By 1920, the company headquarters had moved to Chicago and plants were located in almost 30 Midwestern cities. The Kansas City plant was located at 501-503 W. 25th Street, where Studio Dan Meiners is today, although not in the same building.
In 1939 Blue Valley Creamery was acquired by the Beatrice Creamery of Chicago and survives today under the ConAgra umbrella of companies, although I think we’d be hard-pressed to recognize Mr. Wyeth’s original operation given today’s vast modernization and corporate structures.
This card was mailed from St. Joseph, Mo., on Sept. 1, 1908, to Mr. R. Julien of Amsterdam, Mo. The typewritten message is interesting to say the least. It reads: “Dear Sir, We are writing to thank you for your recent letter with a list of names of parties who have cows and who are not now patrons of ours. The picture will be forwarded to you as soon as completed. The process of making these pictures is somewhat tedious as it requires an immense amount of work and the exercise of great care. The artist tells us that it will not be safe to figure on being able to deliver them before September 15th anyhow. We are sure the quality of the work will justify the wait. Thanking you again for the names and in advance for your patience, we beg to remain, Yours very sincerely, BLUE VALLEY CREAMERY.”