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The Village of Algonquin, IL

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History of Algonquin - Significant Landmarks - Borden Milk Factory

With the arrival of the railroad in 1855, the first significant wave of prosperity and development took place in the Village. Since the primary occupation of area settlers was dairy farming, dairy-related business and industries were among the first to develop.

On the site immediately south of the railroad depot and west of Main Street, a cheese factory was constructed in the 1870s, producing cheese from the milk provided by the local dairy farmers. The factory operated for nearly twenty years until 1890, when it was struck by lightning and burned to the ground. The property was then purchased by the Borden Milk Company, and a factory to produce condensed milk was erected. The new factory employed 75 people (50 men and 25 women) and processed the milk from 1,500 local cows. The factory continued to be the town's largest employer for the next several decades.

During the devastating fire on August 16, 1895, which burned nearly half of the west side of Main Street, it was the water reservoir and fire hydrant at the Borden factory which provided the water to fight the blaze. The Borden factory had the only fire hydrant in the entire Village at the time. The factory eventually closed as the dairy industry moved north to Wisconsin. The building was demolished in the 1930s.

Return to the History of Algonquin.

Photos from the Historic Commission Archives

Borden 1 Borden 2