Tuesday, September 25, 2012

William J. Neuman Dairy Farm Part 1

The photo above, which appeared in the Black River Historical Society's Images of America book on Lorain, has fascinated me since I first saw it.

The caption in the book states, "This picture is from 1932, when there were nine dairies located in Lorain. Newman's [sic] Dairy Farm was one of them. It was situated on the northwestern corner of Oberlin Avenue and Meister Road. It seems difficult to believe that cows once grazed there. This farm was later turned into an airport and then a commercial and housing development."

The Neuman name had long been associated with that property.

The 1891 Lorain City Directory (the oldest in the library) listed Hermon [sic] Neuman as a farmer on Oberlin.

In 1905 edition, the whole family was listed, including parents Herman & Fredericka as well as Rudolph C., William J., and John W. Their address was the "Oberlin Avenue extension."

By 1909 the family dairy firm was known as the Neuman Brothers.

The firm had the distinction of being the only one that was in compliance with a controversial August 1909 ordinance requiring dairymen to test their cattle for tuberculosis. The ordinance resulted in a temporary milk famine when dairy farmers balked at the expense and cut off the city's milk supply. The issue eventually went to court and the city backed down, with the end result that Dr. Oden, the city inspector would make the tuberculine test of all cattle himself at no charge to the dairymen. The Neuman Brothers then asked that they be reimbursed the $140 spent on the tests, but according to the Lorain Daily News report, it appears that city officials were "unable to see how they could compel Dr. Oden to pay them for cattle tested a year or more ago."

By 1915, William J. Neuman owned the farm, and the 1915 Farm Journal Illustrated Rural Directory of Lorain County provided some information about it The directory listing reveals that the farm in Black River Township consisted of 25 acres, with 25 cattle and 5 horses.

Here's the list of dairies in Lorain according to the 1915 Farm Journal Illustrated Rural Directory of Lorain County.

Many of the 25 acres of the Neuman farm were later sold to become part of Port Mills Airport, which was dedicated on Saturday, July 27, 1929. But there was enough farmland left for William J. Neuman to continue to run his dairy farm well into the 1930s, according to city directories.

He also lived at the corner of Meister and Oberlin until the early 1950s (see listing below), when the commercial development along Oberlin Avenue began to really take off as discussed in the Hank Kozloski article last week.

1950 Lorain City Directory Listing
Next: Another Mystery

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