Milk Production in Putnam County – ca. 1860
More than 150 years ago,
Gail Borden, Jr. invented a
unique process for preserving
milk. Although his system
differed only slightly
from previous methods, it
earned him the patent that
would become the foundation
of a dairy empire. His
finances had been sparse
after a few failed attempts
to establish efficient production
of a uniform product at
other New York and Connecticut
sites, but after joining
forces with financier Jeremiah Milbank, he built a new factory on
the banks of the East Branch River in the Village of Brewster, Putnam
County, New York.
In 1863, the Brewster plant was the largest and most advanced milk
factory in the world ---mass producing, canning and shipping condensed
milk. More than 200 dairy farmers supplied 20,000 gallons of
milk per day to the Brewster plant as demand was driven by the Civil
War. Thanks largely to government orders and to manufacturing and
marketing techniques developed during his lifetime, the Borden companies
grew to become the largest dairy in the U.S.
Soldiers returning home from the Civil War soon spread the word
and by the late 1860s, condensed milk was a major household product.
By 1929, Borden became the largest food company in the United States.
The company formed by Gail Borden and Jeremiah Milbank in 1858 as the New York Condensed Milk
Company was renamed The Borden Condensed Milk Company in 1899. That business, with deep roots in
Brewster, had grown by the mid-20th century to sell six hundred million dollars’ worth of goods, employ
thirty thousand persons and pay dividends to fifty thousand stockholders.
Borden’s first 75 years were part of the fabric of Brewster village. In the 75 years since, the Borden companies
flourished and expanded into a variety of non-dairy related businesses – think Elmer’s Glue - and with
each of those changes distanced themselves further from the history of Brewster, New York.
Brewster’s Borden factory was shut down in the 1920s due to changes in the dairy industry, ending a significant
chapter in the history of the Village of Brewster and the Town of Southeast. The factory buildings were
lost to fire in 1935 leaving only a few of the original buildings remaining on Route 22 at the juncture of Route
6 --- Brewster’s Main Street.
Putnam County Historian
For more information, please contact Denis.Castelli@PutnamCountyNY.gov
or view our website at www.PutnamCountyNY.com/Historian
Saturday, March 10, 2012
America the Beautiful - Women and the Flag
5 PM to 7 PM at 63 Chestnut Street, Cold Spring, NY
10516. The Putnam County Historical Society & Foundry
School Museum is presenting a reprise of the popular exhibition
from the private collection of Richard Saunders,
dating from the Civil War era through World War II, including
newly acquired artworks. RSVP by March 7. (845)
Sunday, March 11, 2012
Northern Westchester St. Patrick's Day Parade
Step-off is at 2:00 PM near the intersection of Route 6
and Croton Falls Road. This year's parade is honoring our
Armed Services Veterans and the "wearing of the green"
allows for olivedrab uniforms. There are plans to have a
Bicentennial Float in the lineup.
Thursday, March 22, 2012
Kent Historical Society Meeting
The first general meeting of the society will be held at
7:30 PM at the Carmel/Kent VFW Hall in Carmel.
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
A Postcard History of Putnam County
Speaker Denis Castelli at the Hudson Valley Trust. Junction
of Routes 311 and 164 in Patterson.
Saturday, April 28, 2012
Environmental Walk at Patriots Park
Starts at 9 AM at Patriots Park. The park is located behind
the Hudson Valley Trust building at the intersection of
Route 164 and Route 311. There will also be a Bicentennial
Tag Sale featuring items of historic interest.
of Denis Castelli
Saturday, May 19, 2012
Bicentennial Square Dance at Thunder Ridge
6 PM at Thunder Ridge, Route 22, Patterson
Sunday, June 03, 2012 - Patterson Day Celebration
Starts at 10 AM at the Patterson Baptist Church with a
special service, food, games, Cannon and Musket Demonstrations.
The Church is located at 599 Route 311 in Patterson.
Saturday, June 09, 2012
Firefighters' Parade with Bicentennial Tribute
This will be an extra special event to celebrate the 200th
Anniversary of Putnam County. An special award will be
given to the organization judged to have the best piece of
retired fire apparatus.
Tuesday, June 12, 2012 - THE BICENTENNIAL
This date is the actual 200th anniversary of the legislation
to create Putnam County from a portion of the lands of
Dutchess County, New York. The time capsule that was interred
50 years ago for the County's Sesquicentennial, will
be opened on this date. Mark your calendar and stay tuned
for further details.
Tuesday June 14, 2011 - Flag Day Ceremony
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm Brewster Elks Club, Route 22 & Milltown
Saturday, June 16, 2012 - Historic Cemetery Tour
Starts at 9 AM at Patriots Park, located behind the Hudson
Valley Trust building at the intersection of Route 164
and Route 311. The tour ends with lunch at Thunder Ridge
with a cannon demonstration at the site of the Revolutionary