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?


John Shearer: Happy 100th Birthday To A Riverview Landmark And Old Friend

This Friday marks the 100th birthday of the Chattanooga Golf and Country Club’s clubhouse, a Riverview building that for years has dominated the landscape because of both its commanding location and its Tudor architecture.   Although the structure had a significant facelift and a wing added about 25 years ago to better meet the membership needs, it still mostly resembles ... (click for more)

Remembering the Tennessee Red Cedar and Novelty Company

Cedar chests were once popular graduation or wedding gifts, and have been handed down through generations.    The oils in the cedar wood were said to repel moths, though some scientists say that this is overrated.    However, if the claims are true, then there once must have been very few moths flying around East Fourteenth Street where the Tennessee Red ... (click for more)

Pedestrian Struck And Dragged An Estimated 4 Blocks Early Friday Morning Was Levi S. Youster, 22

Early Friday morning the Chattanooga Police Department responded to reports of a pedestrian struck near 400 Cherry Street.   Once on scene, officers found Levi S. Youster, 22,  suffering from serious injuries caused by being dragged by the vehicle an estimated four blocks.   He was transported to a local hospital and is expected to live. Investigators ... (click for more)

Flash Flood Warning Issued For Hamilton County; Cancellations And Road Closings Announced

A flash flood warning has been issued for Hamilton County for Thursday afternoon. It was reported t ramp from I-24 West to Cummings Highway was closed, due to flooding. The Chattanooga Fire Department reported  roads were underwater at 3rd and Roanoke. UTC softball’s Thursday doubleheader with non-conference foe UAB at Frost Stadium has been cancelled due to the ... (click for more)

Proud Of Hometown Boy Turned Global Leader, Bob Corker

Time Magazine has it right.  Not only is Chattanooga’s own U.S. Senator Bob Corker one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World,” but he is probably now the most prominent leader in the history of our city.   At a time of extreme frustration with Washington and Congress in general, Bob continues to rise above the division and rancor to build consensus and solve ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Our Leathernecks At Tripoli

I don’t want anybody to get excited, because this happened over 200 years ago, but if you ever wondered why we call our Marines “Leathernecks,” the tale of the Barbary Pirates is pretty intriguing. It is a great rainy-day read and proof America’s problems with Muslim terrorists are hardly new. Around 1800 the people who lived on what was called the Barbary Coast of North Africa ... (click for more)