Jamestown hosts 1921 dairy convention

Dairy farmers from across North Dakota attend a 1921 convention in Jamestown.

JSSP Keith Norman Column Sig

The 27th annual convention of the North Dakota State Dairymen’s and Buttermakers Association was a success back a century ago in Jamestown.

The convention convened Feb. 8, 1921, and drew hundreds to Jamestown to learn more about milking cows and making butter. The association of North Dakota ice cream makers were also part of the convention although the prime convention times were dedicated to butter rather than ice cream production.

Jamestown had a couple of things going for it when it came to drawing the milk cow crowd.

Bridgeman Russel Creamery Co. was headquartered in Jamestown and gave tours as part of the convention.


In fact, Bridgeman Russell beat out 20 other contenders to win the honor as North Dakota’s top butter.

Second-place honors went to Purity Creamery of LaMoure in a close contest.

The second attraction Jamestown offered the dairy farmer was the dairy operation at the North Dakota State Hospital.

Convention attendees not only toured the “fine herd of thoroughbred Holstein dairy cattle” but the automated milking machines and other equipment.

Not only did the State Hospital have some state-of-the-art power milking equipment back in 1921 but vendors brought in new pumps, separators and other dairy equipment for live demonstrations at the State Hospital.

One of the devices was a “milk clarifier” that cleaned milk to improve safety back in the days before pasteurization.

The convention ended with a banquet at the Gladstone Hotel. I’m sure the meal included ample quantities of butter for the buns or any of the other foods that could benefit with ample butter.

The featured entertainment was a silent movie called “A Ramble Over North Dakota” produced by the North Dakota Department of Immigration.


“Its scenes proved conclusively that North Dakota is not a state of blizzards, Indians and cowboys, but is one of the great agricultural commonwealths of the nation,” wrote The Jamestown Alert.

I don’t know if any copies of the film still exist. It reportedly included scenes from the Stutsman County Fair and recreation at Spiritwood Lake.

But I would guess that it was any scene including a dairy farm that got the biggest cheat at the 1921 North Dakota State Dairyman’s and Buttermakers Association convention.

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