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DOWNING — A heavy load of snow coupled with several inches of rain was too much for the long vacant Armour & Company Creamery building in Downing the two-story structure fell in.
The building was built in 1916 by the National Dry Milk Company with Armour and Company taking over in 1929 and operating it until March of 1958.
They announced in January of 1958 that milk at two of its plants would be received until March first to allow the milk producers time to arrange for their milk to be sent to some other plant.
The decision to close the Downing and Bloomer plants was made only after every possible means of keeping them in operation had been explored, including the possibility of the sale of the property according to information in the Glenwood City Tribune of January 30, 1958.
The reason given by Armour back in 1958 to close both plants was that under the present economic conditions it appears impossible to operate the condensery at Bloomer profitably. The markets for evaporated milk are in the East and South and freight rates from this area are much higher than those from the eastern states. Another reason given is that the increased production of Grade A milk for fluid distribution has reduced the volume of their receipts of milk to the point where economical operation of the Downing plant is impossible. Armour & Company had one other evaporated milk plant and that was at Stoughton, Wisconsin. The company stated that the reason was due entirely to economic factors.
In 1958 there were five people employed at Downing, in addition to the milk haulers, but there were times when as many as 16 were employed and the plant had received as high as 142,000 pounds of milk daily and the Downing operations had about 170 patrons.
In 1958 the Bloomer plant had 45 employees plus an additional 20 milk haulers and received milk from about 650 area farms.
When the Downing facility closed, Bruce Daggett was the manager and had just completed 25 years of service there. He and his wife continued to live in Downing until their deaths. The property is currently owner by Mark Multhauf.