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Forest Grove Creamery
Jessie Sweeney, MLS
The Forest Grove Creamery was a business which operated in the early 20th Century. It was located on 21st Avenue near College Way. The creamery was started by Joe Propstra. Here is a little history on Propstra himself:
He was born in July of 1889 in Heerenoen-Friesland, Holland, where his father was a creamery operator and milk dealer. He came to the United States in 1907 with his brothers, settling in Chicago where he worked as an elevator operator. “Later he and one brother went into the cooperage business, graduating from barrel makers to tea and coffee merchants” (Eric Stewart Collection, Folder 1-10, item #7).
The World’s Fair, held in Portland in 1910, first brought Propstra to the Pacific Northwest. Liking the area, he eventually moved his family to Washington, where he first became involved in a creamery business. Business ventures of his included creameries in Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho, Vancouver, Washington, and Portland. He came to Forest Grove in 1922, and retired from the creamery business in 1946.
The creamery purchased eggs and other material locally along routes through Carlton, Yamhill, and Gaston, extending to the coastal areas including Tillamook and Astoria. Eggs were the main product purchased in Forest Grove. Drivers would pick up raw materials for manufacturing, as well as drop off the creamery’s finished products as far away as Astoria (Stewart Collection 1-10, items 13-15).
The original building was one of the locations destroyed in the July 20, 1919 fire that wiped out all of the buildings on that block (The News-Times, 3/3/1993). The creamery was eventually rebuilt, along with many other buildings destroyed by the fire. The new creamery operated in the space that was once Taylor Brothers Garage.
One Washington County newspaper article states: "Carnation Cream, from Forest Grove, is shipped to almost every state and territory in the Union. Recently an order was filled for Vladisvostok (in Manchuria, USSR) and on the same day another order was filled for Havans." (Washington County News 8/2/1906)
After the creamery was closed, the building was occupied by the Hope Food Co-op. In the early 1990’s (Prior to March, 1993) it was purchased by PacificUniversity for its building maintenance office.
*The Eric Stewart Collection contains two original butter wrappers. One had red and green printing, with roses on the wrapper, reading “Forest Grove Brand Butter” Net One Pound, “Mfg. by Forest Grove Creamery, Forest GroveOre.97116” (Box 1, Folder 10, item 9). The other reads “Lady Hudson Premium Fresh Creamery Butter…Distributed by Hudson House, Inc. Portland, Oregon 97222” with yellow coloring with blue letters (Box 1, Folder 10, Item 43).
*Additional Property Information
For those interested in Deed/Property records for the Propstra House and Creamery, the collection contains a copy located in Box 14, Folders 11-15.
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