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New Jersey Herald - September 13, 1962 issue

Branchville Creamery Closed Permanently

Branchville--After more than a half-century of operation, the Sussex Milk and Cream Company has ceased operation here. This was announced yesterday (Wednesday) by an official of the Borden Milk Company, New York City.

Edward Jensen, superintendent of country plants for Borden, announced that the company reached the decision after weeks of deliberation following the boiler explosion and fire at the plant on July 17.

Jensen said the 52 patrons who had been using the Branchville creamery have all been notified of the action and have been reassigned to other creameries. A total of 47 of these elected to use the creamery in Sussex, and five chose Blairstown, Jensen said.

Jensen said the Borden Company's decision was based on the cost of repairing the boiler, which he estimated to be between $10,000 and $15,000, the present market situation, and the current litigation concerning the New Jersey milk industry.


Factors Weighed

He said these factors were weighed heavily against a "sense of responsibility the Borden Company feels after many years of operation in Branchville." He said the decision was reached when it was determined that it was the economical thing to do under the circumstances and when it was determined that all 52 patrons have other nearby markets to deliver their milk.

Jensen also pointed out that over the last three decades the volume of milk delivered has depreciated more than half. Clarence Platts, supervisor of the Branchville Creamery, said that the peak of production was approximately 27 years ago when 114 patrons brought in approximately 1,500 cans of milk per day.

Platts points out this has dwindled to the present 52 patrons bringing in approximately 700 cans of milk daily.

Platts is one of four employees affected by the shutdown. however, Jensen announced that so long as Platts had only a year to go for retirement, the company decided to waive the year and allow him to retire effective Oct. 1. The three workers at the plant have been "let go," Jensen said.

According to Samuel Silverman, local dry goods store operator, the Sussex milk and Cream was formerly known as Fullboam's Creamery and has been in operation since about 1905. He said Borden bought Fullboam out at about that time. The creamery was then located where the present Hoos and Fletcher building is located. The present creamery was constructed by Borden in 1940 on ground leased from the Lackawanna Railroad.

Silverman said he recalls that the old plant at one time employed approximately 30 persons when milk was bottled there and the milk was carted in by "beautiful horse-drawn wagons" provided by Borden's. He said in those days, also, that Borden leased both Upper and Lower Electric Pond, owned by the late Charles H. Crisman to "harvest the ice from the ponds" for use in the creamery. He said the company built a huge ice plant at the Upper Electric Pond and constructed a large chute from the lower down to another ice plant adjacent to the creamery.

The explosion and fire which spelled the doom of the plant occurred when the safety valve on a huge boiler failed to operate correctly and created a build-up of pressure inside the boiler.

[Picture Caption: CREAMERY CLOSED... Branchville--After 22 years of servicing local dairy farmers from this plant and for more than 30 years prior at another plant in Branchville, the Borden Milk Company announced this week that the Sussex Milk and Cream has shut down for good. A recent boiler explosion and fire was primarily responsible for the decision, Borden officials said.]