Collections Carousel – Sanitary Milk & Ice Cream Company Ice Cream

Sanitary’s Bulk Style Ice Cream, Circa 1955

Ice cream. The perfect summertime (and wintertime!) treat. A concoction consisting mainly of cream, butterfat or milk that is sweetened and flavored, beaten to a uniform consistency, and then frozen, ice cream ranks as one of the world’s most universally loved foods. According to the International Dairy Foods Association, ice cream has been enjoyed in the United States since at least the middle of the 18th century. Its increasing availability in the late 19th century, largely due to advances in technology, helped make ice cream the staple that it is today. Over 1.6 billion gallons of frozen dairy products are produced annually and companies across the world continue to introduce an ever-increasing number of varieties and flavors. In the 1950s, when the vanilla ice cream originally housed in this thick coated paper one gallon container was made, ice cream was still often produced by local creameries, such as the Sanitary Milk and Ice Cream Company, Inc. of Little Falls, Minnesota.

The Sanitary Milk & Ice Cream Company got its start in 1930 when Leonard Sobiech opened the Sanitary Dairy in the northern portion of the West Side Cooperative Creamery, which was located at 121 Lindbergh Drive in Little Falls. In 1933, Sobiech sold the business, his milk bottling equipment going to Louis Welna and Vincent Young; his ice cream equipment to William Reintjes. In 1935, when Young decided he wanted out of the creamery business, Welna and Reintjes teamed up to form the Sanitary Milk & Ice Cream Company. The company supplied milk and ice cream to Camp Ripley, north of Little Falls, and to many of the surrounding communities. The business was incorporated in 1948 after being purchased by George Melby of Minneapolis and William Anderson of Rockford. Melby had been manager of the Dairy Fresh Creamery in Minneapolis and Anderson was the creamery operator in Rockford. According to the Little Falls Daily Transcript, in an article announcing the new ownership (“Dairy Plant Changes Hands” 4 August 1948), the company sold milk, ice cream, butter, cottage cheese and buttermilk. In 1950, in order to keep up with the increasing demand for ice cream, a continuous ice cream freezer was installed allowing for greater production (“Business Who’s Who”, Little Falls Daily Transcript 4 April 1964). A wholesale distributing center was established in St. Cloud in 1959 and three years later a second one was located in Fergus Falls. By 1961, the business had outgrown its west side location and a new plant was built north of Little Falls on U.S. 371. The Sanitary Milk & Ice Cream Company was closed by 1985.

Sanitary’s Bulk Style Ice Cream (Lid), Circa 1955

3 Replies to “Collections Carousel – Sanitary Milk & Ice Cream Company Ice Cream”

  1. Ate lunch today at Java Jack’s in Tappahannock, VA. There on the wall was an old sign advertising Sanitary Ice Cream. I had never heard of that before. After reading about it on Google, I imagine that sign would be a collector’s item. They had other such signed about things I have never heard of before. Interesting place.

    1. Hi, Tom – Thanks so much for letting us know how far and wide Morrison County history is spread. Very cool that you found a Sanitary Ice Cream sign in Virginia. We just had an exhibit on Prohibition at the Morrison County Fair and, interestingly enough, breweries, including Kiewel Brewery in Little Falls, often turned to producing dairy products because they could no longer produce beer. Sanitary Ice Cream is part of that history.

      Mary Warner
      Executive Director

  2. Had lunch today in a neat little restaurant in Tappahannock, VA. Mounted on the wall was a sign advertising Sanitary Ice Cream. Having never seen or heard of that before, I went to Google. Interesting history.

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