Opened in 1879
The Scotch Line Cheese Factory opened in 1879, and was established as a co-operative business, with many local farmers contributing their milk. Cheese, cheese curds, and butter were produced there, and the quality of their products had a reputation for excellence, and were in demand locally.
Some of the names of people who played an important role at the Scotch Line Cheese Factory through the years:
Abercrombie, Allen, Avery, Bowes,
Burnham, Dodds, Ferrier, Gibson,
Hough, Kellar, Mackler, McGinnis,
Noonan, Partridge, Rancier, Wiltsie
“The cheese had to be placed in the car five tiers high,
and the work was very exhaustive.”
photo: Perth Remembered
Photo was taken around 1910 at the Scotch Line Cheese Factory
Ben Avery, the Cheese Maker, is in a white apron, standing beside the milk cans.
James Gibson and his nephew, John A. Gibson is on the wagon to the left side of the photo.
Sarah MacLennan and Mrs. James Allan are standing in the group of three women to the right of the photo.
December 1913 Fire
“Neighbours saved some fancy cheese the maker, Mr. Hough had, for a dairy show,
but the last day’s make of butter, about 350 lbs, was burned.”
December 26, 1913, p. 1, “The Perth Courier”
Scotch Line Cheese Factory, rebuilt, as it appeared in 1932
George McGinnis Retires
After 17 Years
Nov. 20, 1941, p. 2, “The Perth Courier”
November 1965 Fire
“Fire of undetermined cause razed the Scotch Line Union Cheese Factory for an estimated loss of $40,000 Tuesday.
Rural Fire Chief, Arnold Darou and a ten-man crew fought the blaze from 5:30 p.m. until midnight. Saved was the nearby house owned by Clifford Kelford, occupied by the plant’s Cheese Maker, Lewis Kellar, who was away when the outbreak occurred.
Mervyn G. Ferrier, R.R. 3, Perth, Secretary Treasurer of the co-operatively owned factory yesterday consulted with the insurance company which had the plant covered.
“The fire represents a distinct blow to the 30 owner-members of the plant”, he said, “but a small consolation is the fact that the fire did not strike during our busy season.”
The factory normally operates from May until October 31st and had just recently been shut down for the winter.
Mr. Ferrier said the directors had as yet made no decision about rebuilding.
The factory was originally constructed 86 years ago, in 1879, and rebuilt in 1914.
Mr. Ferrier reported that last year’s total production of 130,000 lbs of cheese had been increased 20% this year. This means that this year a total of some 1,400,000 lbs of milk were processed. This year, too, a new can-washer had been acquired.
The enterprise has played an intimate part in the economy of the area, and a complete set of books detailing its history has been kept up to date since inception 13 years after Confederation.
Mr. Ferrier has been Secretary-Treasurer for 24 years. Before him, Charlie Dodds kept the books 21 years and Mr. Ferrier’s father, John, was Secretary Treasurer for the 20 years before that. Cecil Dodds, President, has held that office for 24 years. Vice President is Victor Mackler.
The Scotch Line Union Cheese Factory provided some of the milk which went into Perth’s Mammoth 22,000 lb cheese of bygone age, the world’s largest.
The decreased winter-time flow of milk provided by the owner-members will be shipped to various district dairies. Granted the factory is rebuilt by next May the normal seasonal milk surplus will go to the plant.”
Nov. 11, 1965, p. 1 “The Perth Courier”
John Wiltsie was Cheese Maker in 1893 when the Mammoth Cheese was produced
Lanark County’s famous Mammoth Cheese, a 22,000 lb cheese, shown on display in the Tay Basin, next to Crystal Palace.
Twelve area cheese makers donated milk to the project in 1893, for display at the World’s Exposition, to promote Canadian cheese around the world.
(The site of the Scotch Line Cheese Factory was later the location for Cliff Kelford’s Auto Parts business.)