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?



Chester Martin: Tales Of Broad Street

Did anyone ever tell you when you were growing up that Broad Street (in Chattanooga) did not always exist - except for nine short blocks from the river to 9th Street? Very hard to imagine that now, to be sure, but the street, as we know it today was not always there. My parents were both around, however, when that street only ran from the river (Aquarium area) to 9th Street, now ... (click for more)

Montagues Led In Chattanooga Banking, Industry; Fine Homes Were Knocked Down On Cameron Hill

One of Chattanooga's first banks opened after the Civil War's end was a project of two Northerners, who had first eyed Cincinnati for their First National Bank. The First National opened Nov. 15, 1865, in an unpretentious brick building between Third and Fourth streets. The founders were Theodore Giles Montague and William Perry Rathburn. They had moved on to Chattanooga because ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain To Hold Public Meetings On Idea Of Setting Up Own School System

Discussion about follow-up public meetings regarding the Signal Mountain School System Viability Committee (SMSSVC) report dominated the council’s work session on Friday afternoon. Council member Dan Landrum’s opinion about how to proceed differed from the other four council members. Mr. Landrum argued to end the study and to hold no public meetings. His reason was that of the 738 ... (click for more)

Man Shot Multiple Times In Cleveland; Jesus Teague, 14, Is Arrested

On Saturday, at 6:12 a.m., Cleveland Police Department responded to 1210 Elrod Place SE in reference to a domestic disturbance.   A man sustained multiple gunshot wounds and was transported to Erlanger by Life Force. His condition is stable, at this time.   The suspect, Jesus Tyler Teague, 14, was located and was in custody as of 3:25 p.m. ... (click for more)

October Is Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Myth And Fact Check

My husband and I recently had the privilege of participating in the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk in Chattanooga. I listened as my husband told the audience about how his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer when he was nine and how she died from the disease when he was fourteen. As a child, my husband didn’t understand what breast cancer ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies

Bill Pennington, a sports writer for the New York Times, was lamenting the “huddle” is slowly disappearing in football due to the faster pace of the game and, during his search for more information, he called former Washington Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann. Bill wrote that Joe couldn’t stop laughing about the funny things that would happen between plays. Joe told this story: ... (click for more)