Area once was home to several creameries

The building that housed the creamery at 1565 W. Como Ave. is now home to several small businesses. Photo courtesy of John Gammel

The building that housed the creamery at 1565 W. Como Ave. is now home to several small businesses. Photo courtesy of John Gammel

One hundred years ago, there were several creameries in the Como area and two of the sturdy buildings that housed them are still in use today.

For example, the Como Park Condominiums at 1098 N. Lexington Parkway, on the hill overlooking the McMurray Fields, were once the site of the Eden Valley Creamery owned by Elov Ericsson. The creamery specialized in supplying cultured cream to butter makers across the region. Ericsson moved to St. Paul from Mankato in about 1915 and built the residence that is now the Como Lake Bed and Breakfast at 1205 W. Como Blvd.

The one-time Eden Valley Creamery on Lexington Parkway is now condominiums.

The one-time Eden Valley Creamery on Lexington Parkway is now condominiums.

At about the same time, the Midway Creamery was moving into a new building at 1565 W. Como Ave., near Snelling Avenue. Its origins dated back to 1888, when Jens Nelson bought a dairy farm just south of what is now the Minnesota State Fair Coliseum. With a horse and wagon, he began making deliveries in the St. Anthony Park area. The milk was neither pasteurized nor refrigerated, and he decanted it into his customers’ pitchers or other containers.

Nelson died in 1902 and Hans Gammel and Walter Nielsen took over, developing the Midway Creamery into a full-blown commercial enterprise, complete with a slogan: “The milk with the deep cream line.”

Bottling had begun at the farm in 1915, but a more modern facility was needed, spurring the move to Como Avenue.

Midway Creamery horses were stabled on the south side of Como, west of the creamery. Photo courtesy of John Gammel

Midway Creamery horses were stabled on the south side of Como, west of the creamery. Photo courtesy of John Gammel

Trucks gradually replaced the horse-drawn wagons, a changeover that was complete in 1934. By this time, Gammel and a brother owned the creamery in partnership with Sanitary Farm Dairies. At its peak, the creamery had 30 delivery routes in St. Paul, Minneapolis and as far north as Lake Johanna.

    2 Responses

    1. Ted Blank

      I had always wondered what that building on Lexington had been, but would never have guessed that it was a creamery. Fascinating!

    2. Marty Gammel

      Hans Gammel was my grandfather and my parents lived in one of the apartments upstairs till a couple years before I was born. I have the originals of a similar picture with grandpa standing where that guy in the overalls stood. I still have the receipts for the railroad leases for the pasture land along Como avenue.

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