Pasteurized Of The Past: Happy Valley

Tuesday, June 8, 2004 - by Harmon Jolley

The lifetimes of John L. Hutcheson Sr. and his son, John L. Hutcheson, Jr., spanned the years 1867 to 1980. Each became a successful business and civic leader, and each contributed to the growth of north Georgia and Chattanooga. John L. Sr. was one of the founders of the Peerless Woolen Mills in Rossville, GA. He was also a well-known cattle breeder in Chattanooga Valley.

After the elder Hutcheson died, his son stepped in to manage the family businesses. In February, 1936, John L. Hutcheson, Jr. established a milk-processing plant as an extension of his dairy farm. The brand name “Happy Valley” was familiar to Chattanooga area consumers for many years thereafter.

Happy Valley’s first appearance in the city directory was in 1937, when it advertised that its milk came from “only pure-bred Jersey cows.” The business address was simply “Dry Valley Road, Rossville.” Competitors of Happy Valley included Grant-Patten, the Home Stores Creamery, Cream Top Dairy, and Signal Creamery.

A few years after Happy Valley began operation, two men joined the company to begin long-term careers there. Sam Turner became vice-president, and Sanford E. Leake joined the company as secretary-treasurer. Mr. Leake had worked as the paymaster at Peerless Woolen Mills. In 1946, the management team led Happy Valley through an expansion, as a new $225,000, 33,000 square-foot milk-processing plant was constructed on McFarland Avenue in Rossville. The building allowed Happy Valley to double the volume of milk pasteurized each day to 12,000 gallons.

At the same that his milk business was growing, the dairy cows owned by John L. Hutcheson, Jr. were earning top honors. At the 1948 All-American Jersey cow show in Columbus, Ohio, Happy Valley Farms earned both the premier breeder’s and premier exhibitor’s awards.

Mr. Hutcheson honored the memory of his father by leading the drive that established the Hutcheson Medical Center. He also was a leader in the 4-H program, which helped to pass along his knowledge of dairy farming.

Many area school children remember Happy Valley Farms as a field trip destination. The company invited classes to tour its dairy farm, and set up picnic tables where fresh Happy Valley milk products were distributed. The students were already familiar with the ½ pint of Happy Valley milk that was sold in the school cafeteria.

Like its competitors, Happy Valley operated a home milk delivery service for many years. The last delivery made by a Happy Valley milk man was on August 29, 1972. 6,000 homes had to switch to buying their milk at the store. Sanford Leake, who by then had become president of Happy Valley, noted in a Chattanooga Times interview that home delivery of milk had begun in the days before pasteurization. “In the old days, that was the only way city dwellers could get their milk and dairy products.” Mr. Leake also recalled that grocery stores once delivered all of their products directly to the homes of customers.

In 1973, Happy Valley itself faced changing times, as the milk-processor became a division of Flav-O-Rich. While one cannot find Happy Valley-brand milk at the dairy aisle today, Happy Valley Farms still runs a dairy farm in the Rossville area.

If you have memories of Happy Valley, please send me an e-mail at jolleyh@signaldata.net. Anyone have old photos of their school class on a field trip to Happy Valley?


Catoosa County Historical Society Meets Monday

The Catoosa County Historical Society will meet on Monday at 7 p.m. at the Old Stone Church Museum in Ringgold. This meeting will be different from their usual one. Instead of a speaker, there will be a Show and Tell program. Anyone possessing an item or items from the past and who would like to share the knowledge of the item(s) is encouraged to bring the item and participate ... (click for more)

History Center Presentation on Chattanooga Photography is January 24

The Chattanooga History Center will present "Say Cheese!" Photography and the Chattanooga Story , for ages 8-13 at 2:30-4:00pm on Saturday, January 24th, 2015 at the Center. This program offers a great opportunity for family members to explore history together.  Participants will learn about photographic processes from daguerreotypes to instagrams.  They will learn to ... (click for more)

Girl, 12, Stabs Boy, 13, Twice At Lookout Valley Middle High School

A female student stabbed a male student twice at Lookout Valley Middle High School on Thursday morning. It happened in a middle school classroom. Sheriff Jim Hammond the students are seventh graders.The girl is 12 and the boy 13. He  said the boy was taken by ambulance and went into surgery after the mid-morning stabbing.  He said the boy received a superficial ... (click for more)

Chief Fletcher Gives Maximum Punishment To Officer Who Fired At Vehicle That Backed Toward Him; Attorney Vows To Fight To Reverse Decision

Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher has given a maximum punishment to an officer who fired four shots toward a vehicle after he said the driver backed into his vehicle with him standing behind it. Chief Fletcher sustained a finding of “improper use of force – discharge of firearm.” He suspended Officer Alex Olson for 30 days without pay – the maximum suspension allowed ... (click for more)

Shelley Andrews Will Be Missed - And Response

Shelley Andrews was one of the kindest, most thoughtful and most effective laborers in our community.  Her work with the Friends of Moccasin Bend was exemplary.  She listened, she learned and she led with dignity and class. Her brave battle with ovarian cancer was a testament to her positive spirit and commitment to her work on behalf of the people of this region. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: This One’s For ‘Grifter’

Back in October of 2013 a Facebook page called “OAF Nation” was created to “boost the morale” of the heroes who make up our nation’s military.” It was tongue-in-cheek satire, putting funny captions on every-day pictures that showed members of the Army, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard as they defended our country. Our fighting men and women loved it. It quickly went viral and today ... (click for more)