Penn State 'must-do' list: Visit the Creamery

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The year is 1956, and University Creamery employee Ron Ross waits on customers at the counter of the salesroom, located on the second floor of Borland Laboratory, on the University Park campus. Margaret Walk, in the background, helps a gentleman at the freezer with his selection.

This week's historic photo is full of details -- "University Creamery" embroidered on Ross' shirt; the variety of cheeses offered on the menu board; a jar of pretzel rods on the counter; students drinking milk from old-fashioned bottles. Ross, of State College, worked for the Creamery for more than 37 years, and Walk, of Bellefonte, for more than 35.

This Sunday, May 24, the Penn State Berkey Creamery will kick off festivities celebrating 150 years of service with an opportunity for fans to vote for their favorite ice cream from among three celebration-themed flavors.

The University established a creamery in 1865, only a decade after the school itself was founded as an agricultural college. Located in a barn behind Old Main, the Creamery produced and sold dairy products such as fresh milk and cheese.

In 1889, part of a $7,000 state appropriation supported construction of a freestanding creamery. This one-story structure, containing a cold-storage room, cream-ripening room, workroom and office space, resulted largely from Professor Henry Armsby's efforts to upgrade instruction and research in dairying.

In 1892 Penn State offered the nation's first collegiate-grade instruction in ice-cream making, from which has evolved today's international reputation as a center for research and instruction in frozen confections.

In 1904 the Creamery moved to the Patterson Building. Processing operations greatly increased, and research and development of pasteurized milk was established. The Dairy Manufacturing major was created and retail delivery of pasteurized milk and cream began.

In 1932 the Creamery moved again, to a wing of Borland Laboratory. By then it was buying milk and cream from 300 area farmers and was selling milk, cheese and ice cream (added to the menu in 1920) in the State College and Altoona markets. A salesroom was added to the original structure in 1960 and 1961.

The Creamery moved to its current location, the first floor of the then-new Food Science Building on Curtin Road, and was renamed for donors Jeanne and Earl Berkey, in 2006.

Read more about this weekend's anniversary kick-off.

Contacts: 
Last Updated July 28, 2015