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 Anyone have old photos of their school class on a field trip to Happy Valley?

Soddy Daisy Group Forms Historical Association

A group of local area citizens has formed a new organization, the Soddy, Daisy and Montlake Historical Association. The new association plans to preserve and display the unique histories of these North Hamilton County communities.      The Soddy, Daisy and Montlake communities have made contributions to the history of Hamilton County and the state of Tennessee ... (click for more)

Senator Bob Corker Is History Center History Maker Award Honoree

The Chattanooga History Center has announced that its 10th Annual History Makers Award will honor U. S. Senator Bob Corker. The award recognizes local individuals or groups who have made significant contributions to Chattanooga, the region, the state or the country.   "As an entrepreneur, businessman, volunteer, and elected official, Senator Corker's ... (click for more)

Attorney Patrick Says Chattanooga Is "Most Logical Place" For Consolidating Volkswagen Lawsuits; Hearing Set Dec. 3

Attorney Gary Patrick said Chattanooga is "the most logical place for consolidating the Volkswagen litigation because it is the only location in the country where VW vehicles are being produced." Attorney Patrick, of the local firm of Patrick, Beard, Schulman and Jacoway, said a hearing is set Dec. 3 in New Orleans on the issue. A host of lawsuits seeking class action status ... (click for more)

Woman Stabbed To Death On Hooker Road; Man Injured; Suspect Being Interviewed

A young woman was stabbed to death on Hooker Road early Friday morning and a man was injured. At approximately 1:54 a.m., Chattanooga Police responded to a stabbing at the 4000 block of Hooker Road. There police located Angel Evans, 33, deceased. She was stabbed multiple times. A second person, Gerald Nelson, 24, was transported to a local hospital with non-life-threatening ... (click for more)

The Facts About Jail

Since Roy had such a positive reaction to Jeffrey Cross's wonderful (and wonderfully civil--how refreshing) email response to his column on the bike lanes, allow me to speak on the subject of the jail.  First off, Roy's right about some things:  It is overcrowded, underfunded, and understaffed.  This is no secret, it's in the Grand Jury report every term.  Here's ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: We Must Learn To Tell

On July 4th of this year, FBI agents – acting on a tip -- arrested Alexander Ciccolo, a 23-year-old with known mental problems, as he carried a duffle bag full of automatic attack weapons. Moments before, he had bought the illegal firearms from an undercover informant outside of Boston. As agents later scoured his apartment, they found bomb-making equipment including a pressure ... (click for more)