Sunday, April 14, 2019


You're already excited, admit it!!

This one all started back in mid-March, well the Posting part of it started in mid-March.  As you'll see, this goes back a ways.....

In April 1955 I was an extraordinarily wee lad.  In fact, when the story itself was written, there's a very good chance that I wasn't.  These brochures were full of travel locations, ideas with of course a great number of ads for Ford autos.  April 1955 as an example highlighted Last of the Klamath Wilderness, Walt Whitman's Long Island, Custom Conversions (very cool profile of a '34 Convertible reborn), Trombone Choir at Easter Sunrise, Pleasures of a Detour, The Bily Brothers' Clocks (been there) and so get the idea.  In other words, I could spend a lot more time with these than I could with the Digest.  On page 48, ".....The plans shown on the next page were made by Stephen Hustvedt of Washington, D.C. to convert his '51 Ford Country Squire into a traveling base of operations for a prolonged painting-writing tour of the country....".   I had to give these away or I'd spend most of Spring into early Summer reading instead of riding, if not reading then enjoying the artwork.

This one was addressed to dad's place of employment back in '55 and I have no idea if these were sent automatically or otherwise to Ford car owners.

Love this cover by John Warren, a typical Wisconsin farmstead not unlike the ones we so enjoy riding past on most of our rides.

We were at coffee and I had brought a number of pieces from dad's 'collection' of books, brochures and old records.  I took them to hand out, share and then leave.  Mike grabbed a couple of these Ford Times and then noticed a story in this one (that I had not), pointing out a couple of the pages, knowing full well my interest would be piqued.

Mike knows me very well.

The light bulbs, buzzers and alerts went off in my head, "a blog Post AND a excellent combination!"  What follows was inside on page 38.  Mr. Jerome Palms wrote the story, the map created by Mal Young and the beautiful paintings of the Factories done by John Warren and Byron C. Jorns.  The story is focused on the abundance of small cheese factories in the Madison, Wisconsin area and the challenges for the One-Man enterprises to stay viable.

The map covering some though not all of the cheese factories present when the story was written in the mid-1950's.  This is an area, especially the northwestern corner that we spend a fair amount lot of motorcycle riding time in.  Mount Horeb, described by me as a bedroom community for Madison, the progressive college town is the dot on the map's far right.

Factories around Mt by Mal Young

Elvers Cheese Company----painting by John Warren

Google Street View

Google Earth

The Vermont Cheese Factory-----painting by B.C. Jorns

Google Street View

Google Earth

The Malone Cheese Factory-----painting by B.C. Jorns

Google Street View

Google Earth

The Ridge Cheese Factory-----painting by John Warren

Google Street View

Google Earth

 The Holum Cheese Factory-----painting by John Warren

Google Street View

Google Earth

These are the 5 Cheese Factories mentioned in the article, or their former location in one case, not all that far apart and are loosely centered around Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin as the author Mr Palms states.

The Evers and Vermont Cheese factory locations are ridden past by we Slimey Crud'ers during almost every event.  The 3 locations south of Hwy 151 have not been.  Throughout our (Wisconsin and Minnesota) rural areas, remnants of the many former cheese factories still exist.  Now often utilized as homes, sometimes businesses and even a few of them still actually sell cheese, they are scattered in various densities, their locations seem to have depended on local customs, family backgrounds/nationalities and access to local milk, likely how well there was access was to creameries (competition?) located in nearby towns.

Here's the fun part from my point of view.  One of my great resources for locating these places was a website I've bookmarked and turn to often.  Historic Map Works is my go-to place for plat books, especially the historic versions.  I have in my collection a good number of the actual books not only from our County but from many others as well.  The largest part of the collection is on the D:/ hard drive with many sub-folders that include plat books from States and Counties around the USA.   HMW makes them available for sale and over time, I've only purchased a handful.  I mostly take screen grabs that I can print, mark-up and the most important part, save digitally for my 'projects'.

I learned a lot while working on this little 'project', namely that my old reliable Rockford Map Company isn't always my preferred source.  I have and look at more of their maps than anyone else's. They've been great but there was a new discovery made this time during my hunt for information.

Here's a typical 1957 Rockford Co. plat from Sauk County, Excelsior Township, Wisconsin.  Most of my actual platbooks are indeed Rockford's and look like this.  Township map colors revolve, blue, pink, yellow and white making it easier for residents to quickly flip through their county books and keep track of neighbors. :)

Typical township of 36 Sections, 6 x 6 and considered 'normal'.  Topography, boundaries and various other things sometimes leave townships oddly shaped, especially those that are bordered by water features, unlike this 'normal' one.  The dark lines are roads, the lightweight lines property boundaries....Sections, Half Sections, Quarter Sections, and so on.  The focused on item for this study are the black dots which designate farmsteads/dwellings.  Additionally, in some locations, a small circled X (Cemetery), a small rectangle with a cross above (School), a larger cross-only (church).  Sometimes named, normally just the symbol marks the spot.

Here's an example of the Derr Map Studio map, this a 1954 version of the Dane County (Madison) Wisconsin plat.  Just lovely, easy to read and from all I've seen, spot on accurate.  I've noticed over time that on some of my newer books (available free via advertising) that the facts and locations can often be flexible.

 Take a look at Geo. Chole's 39.9 acre parcel at the bottom...."K Ch. Co."  Based on all of the townships and all of the Sections on the Derr maps of Dane County, the cheese factories have been designated in much the same way.  Dots, sometimes small rectangles 5,10 acres in size with various verbiage, often just a couple of initials, possibly with the actual name if there was room on the page.  Whomever the actual mapmaker, that person obviously a kindred spirit; marking schools, cemeteries, churches and cheese factories.  The only thing missing were the breweries.

So, I went through Dane County's 1954 Derr Plat Book Range by Range, Section by Section and after exhaustive and highly enjoyable study, I found this.......56 cheese factories, 7 northeast of Madison, the rest absolutely covering the SW corner of Dane County.  My eyes were soon Where's Waldo-trained.

In almost every one of these found, I used a combination of Earth and Street View to confirm.  By far the vast majority of them still stand!  The location that the map maker specified very accurate.

A view focusing on the area SW of urban Madison.

I've spent a lot of time over my life riding near and past these cheese buildings and have come to recognize their look.  There were many up in far northern Wisconsin that I saw when young and now these that are so predominant in the areas we often ride in are not that difficult for me to spot.  They were well built with solid walls and most are still standing, their design and location making discovery all that much easier.

Slimey Crud weekend is coming up.......a strong chance that some photos and highlights may be documented.

A number of theme-style Posts have been started and have been cooking in Draft-form for awhile now.  Due to timing and the luck of the draw this one got bumped to the front of the queue.


  1. Look'n forward to a interest'n update !

  2. Hmmm.... sounds like a GR3 ride in the making

    1. Hey Paul, was just thinking about you yesterday and meant to send you a bump about GR3.

      You're coming I hope??