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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
Marshall Cohen—researcher and producer, CNN

Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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Token. Photo courtesy: Bob Reding
Glass bottle for cottage cheese. Photo courtesy: Bob Reding
1938 advertisement. Photo courtesy: Bob Reding
1120 University (a station). Photo in 2011.
1938 advertisement. Photo courtesy: Bob Reding

SANITARY MILK COMPANY. In 1917 Edward Vyverberg purchased the Miller Milk Depot, which was then producing 75 quarts of milk daily. He took R. E. Miller in as a partner in 1918 and for two years and a half years the company operated at Eighth and Iowa. (1) In 1920, Sanitary Dairy purchased property at the corner of 7th and White from Joseph J. NAGLE.

The dairy began a remodeling of the building with reinforced concrete to accommodate the needs of its extensive operations. Called both the Sanitary Dairy and the Sanitary Milk Company, the company razed some of the hotel outbuildings and, in 1930, the stable was replaced by a one-story building with a 60 foot smokestack that powered the enormous boilers required by the necessary pasteurizing equipment.

An estimated one hundred farmers brought their milk to the Sanitary Dairy for more than two decades. At the plant it was made safe for consumption as milk, cream, cottage cheese and the ice cream. In 1922 the company took third place honors in the state pure milk contest held in Waterloo at the Dairy Cattle Congress. (2)In 1929 twelve wagons and ten trucks were required to deliver the company's products daily. (3)

In 1940 Sanitary Milk began a new consumer price program. The company calculated that three cents of the 11 cent price of a quart of milk delivered to a home was the cost of delivery. The company then began a schedule in which the first quart of milk cost 11 cents and each additional quart cost 8 cents. The delivery cost was also reduced from the price of other dairy products when delivery was made with the milk. Sanitary Milk Company charged that rival dairies in Dubuque cooperated with union deliverymen with a rule that any driver found driving for Sanitary would be fined $100. As a result, Sanitary Milk Company could obtain no new customers because of the threat against its drivers. The case received federal attention because milk sold in Dubuque was produced in three states--Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin--and was therefore part of interstate commerce. (3)

In September an injunction was filed by the federal government against the company charging that it had violated provisions of the U. S. Department of Agriculture order regulating the handling of milk in the Dubuque Marketing area. (4) In December, the case against the company was dismissed. (5)

In 1943 the company, DUBUQUE COOPERATIVE DAIRY MARKETING ASSOCIATION, and BEATRICE CREAMERY COMPANY were charged with a conspiracy to raise the price of milk in the Dubuque area in violation of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890. (6)

In 1942, the Sanitary Dairy filed bankruptcy and its doors on the corner of White and 7th were closed. The building was decades later converted into SMOKESTACK (THE)

The 1923 through 1929 Dubuque City Directory listed the corner of 7th and White.

The 1939 Dubuque City Directory and 1942 Dubuque Classified Business Directorylisted 60 E. 7th.



1. "Sanitary Milk Company is Located Here," Telegraph-Herald, August 24, 1930, p. 17

2. "Dubuque Third in Iowa Milk Contest," Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, October 2, 1922, p. 8

3. "Dubuque Milk Probe Ordered," Telegraph Herald, September 5, 1940, p. 1

4. "Ask Enjoining of Milk Firm," Telegraph-Herald, August 9, 1940, p. 14

5. "Judge Upholds Milk Company," Telegraph-Herald, December 3, 1940, p. 7

6. "Take Evidence in Milk Trial," The Telegraph-Herald, April 28, 1943, p. 1