Conneaut Creamerie Chapters

Miss Iva Phelps and the Conneaut Creamerie

No age limit. Although Miss Iva Phelps, president and manager of The Conneaut Creamery, has spent a good many years hereabouts, she enjoys yachting to the fullest, and could put many a youngster to shame. Here, she emerges from the cabin of her boat bait box and flashlight in hand.

Iva Phelps was born on July 18, 1882. In East Conneaut, the daughter of Milo and Edith Miles Phelps.

She graduated from Conneaut Highschool and for awhile after graduation, she worked in Chicago. Returning to Conneaut, she worked six years for the Conneaut News-Herald. In 1910, she became general manager of the Conneaut Creamery and in   1943, she became its president upon the death of Dr. W.H. Leet. She was the first woman to be honored as Miss Community on Conneaut Industrial Day.

She was with the Conneaut Creamery for 54 years until the business was sold to Lockie Lee Dairy in 1964. The business grew from five employees in 1910 to 38 employees in 1964.

Iva Phelps attended the Evangelical United Brethren Church and was a member of the DAR and Women’s Relief Corps for many years.

Death came for her at Brown Memorial Hospital on December 3,1966. Reverend Robert Earle, pastor of the Evangelical United Brethren Church officiated at her funeral, and she is buried in East Conneaut Cemetery.

The Conneaut Creamery or creamerie

The Conneaut Creamery, Harbor and State Streets, before the building was razed in 1975.

The Conneaut News-Herald, Tuesday August 21, 1979, printed a history of the Conneaut Creamery, using information compiled by Mrs. L.P, (Bertha) Covisto from the records of Elman (Ike) Hoskins.

The former Conneaut Creamery (Creamerie) dates back to 1908. Dr, B.M. Tower and Dr. W.H. Leet, Conneaut physicians who realized the importance of milk pasteurization helped pioneer the once revolutionary idea.

Before they implanted this project, a young man by the name of Fred Wolcott started a local creamery producing pasteurized milk.

Mr. Wolcott had experience in the Creamery business from his employment in the state of Oregon. In 1908, he took Frank Watson as a partner and started his business. The Creamery is located at the foot of Watson Hill on the corner of Rt. 7 and the Underridge Road. This was the Shiedler Farm. After one year of operation, the business showed a loss. They then sold it to the Conneaut doctors and friends.

Original stockholders when it became the Conneaut Creamery Co Inc., in 1909 were Dr. B.M. Tower; Dr. W.H. Leet; Matt Watson; E.D. Jacobs; Matt Spaulding; W.S. Payne; and Gerald Smith. Dr. Leet was president until his death and Dr. Tower served on the Company’s Board of Directors until his death.

The late Miss Iva Phelps who served as president and general manager after Dr. Leet died, retired in 1964 after 54 years with the company. She had joined the company in 1910.

The new company moved the company from the farm to the southeast corner of Main and Harbor Streets. This building is now occupied by the Fraternal Order of Eagles.

The Company moved in 1918 to 234 Harbor Street, which no longer stands. At the time, it was a one-story building. The Company also built and operated a cheese factory in Orwell for several years. The factory manufactured 90-pound wheels of cream cheese.

In 1924, a butter plant and ice factory were added, the latter being discarded with the advent of refrigeration. Because of an increase of the ice cream business, a second story was added in 1930.

In 1964, the Company was sold to Lockie-Lee Dairy of Painesville. They purchased the “Creamerie” trademark, home delivery and wholesale business, twelve vehicles, supplies, and ice cream cabinets. Two years later, Lockie-Lee purchased the real estate.

The Creamerie was very important economically to this area. It created a market for the farms of the area.

In the early days, it was a seasonal business; the company hired fourteen extra employees from May 1 to Sept. 1. This gave summer jobs to high school and college students. When the company was in its peak years, they boasted fifty-three employees.

During World War II, approximately 55 percent of the butter production went to the U.S. Navy.

The company once had plans to open a branch in Englewood, FL

A Conneaut Creamery reunion is slated for all full and part-time employees of the retired plant on Sept. 8 at 4 p.m. at Conneaut Township Park. A tureen picnic is being planned. Chairman is Mrs. L.P. (Bertha) Koivisto, 168 North Liberty Street.

Visit the Conneaut Historical Museum to see some Conneaut Creamery or Creamerie memories.

conneaut creamerie employees

Township Park, June 2, 1939

Left to right are Rosie Malli; Pauline Wilson; Elsie Guthrie; Frankie Taylor; Dorothy Hawkins; Charlotte Neal; and Margaret Goodenow.

Creamerie Employees, 1941

Conneaut Creamerie employees in 1941 were left to right, Elsie Guthrie; Pauline Barkalow; Margaret Holdson; Velma Snyder; Mrs. Colson; and Ann Van Beisin.

38th Anniversary dinner honors 25-year employees of creamery

January 31, 1947

Ninety employees, stock holders, directors and guests enjoyed the annual Creamery party Wednesday evening in the Rose Room, Cleveland Hotel celebrating the 38th anniversy of the corporation.

A pink and white theme was carried out in the decorations and bouquets of chrysanthemums, daffodils and snapdragons were used. Yellow tapers and ground pine were used on the table and pink and yellow favors marked the places.

Charles Skinner was master of ceremonies for the evening and R.G. Powell pronounced the invocation. A special ice cream cake with 38 candles was cut by Miss Iva Phelps.

Employees with 25 or more years of service were honored and presented with Hamilton watches. They are: Miss Phelps, 37 years; R.G. Powell, 31 years; Charles Skinner, 29 years; Homer Holdson, 27 years; and Paul Hammond, 25 years. Miss Phelps, who spoke briefly, was presented with a gold bracelet for her watch from the employees. Each employee received a bonus.

Entertainment for the evening included a vocal trio, Mrs. John Lamos; Mrs. G.W. Heinemann; and Mrs. A.J. Whipple, accompanied at the piano by Mrs. Dan Foley. They sang “Hail to America,” “Old Refrain,” “Summertime,: and “Donkey Serenade.” The trip led in group singing. An original poem was read by Mrs. Charles Skinner.

Two contests were played and prizes were awarded. A department of agriculture film was shown by Harold Dickley, Astatic Corporation, assisted by Robert Phelps, Conneaut Grain and Fuel Company .

Two skits were presented: the first by Elman Hoskins, Cecil Huston; and John Fedoush. The second was presented by Mr. Fedoush. Door prizes were awarded Miss Margaret Ross and Harry Williams. Mrs. Rex Redding was general chairman in charge of arrangements. Chairmen assisting her were Mrs. W.B. Colson, decorations; Mrs. Margaret Mowery, invitations; and John Fedoush, program.

Creamerie Cream of the crop

54 Attend Creamerie Reunion

Employees and spouses of the former Conneaut Creamerie Co. (1909-1964) met recently for a reunion at the home of Elman and Margaret Hoskins, 349 Fair Street. Fifty-four people attended the affair with out-of-town guests attending from Arizona and California. Door prizes were won by Marjorie Fuller and Nancy Meinke. Next year the reunion will be held at the home of Alton and Esther Callahan, Route 193, Kingsville, on August 3.

Conneaut Creamerie Co. employees and spouses met recently for a reunion.

First row left, are Robert Oehlenschlager; Joan Grable; Mike Yourchak; John Lyubi; John Lemak; Tom Dowling; Alton Callahan and Pete Silis.

Second row from left are Helen Cosner; Viola McDermott; Ruby Spore; Margaret Hoskins; Olga Kennedy; Margaret Fails; Bertha Hazen; Dorothy Baker; Barbara Fritzsche; and Robert Holdson.

Third row left are Nancy Meinke; Helen Dalrymple; Jane King; Elman Hoskins; and Steve Palagyi.