Bowman Farm Dairy
3101 Fish Hatchery Rd.
Charles Harlan Bowman started a celery farm in the lowlands of Section 3 near the Nevin Fish Hatchery. The celery was sold to restaurants and grocery stores. The family had a cow whose milk was used by the family. The cow had a female calf, which increased the “herd” to two. One year an early freeze wiped out the celery crop. Mr. Bowman made the decision to concentrate on what he could do with the milk he produced. In 1914, he obtained a license from the department of health and was in business. In 1916, the Madison directory listed J. H. Bowman as the proprietor of the Bowman Dairy. The dairy was located on Fish Hatchery Road.
Sometime in the mid 1920s electricity came to the area and the milk was able to be pasteurized to increase its shelf life. The Bowman Farm Dairy continued to grow and in 1929 an automated milking parlor was added with a viewing area for groups of school children and their parents. This building is listed on the Wisconsin Historical Society Architecture and History Inventory. Additions to the parlor were made in 1931 and 1953. From its original 26 acres of owned land it grew to 435 acres of owned land and another 265 acres of rented land with 440 cattle. The business was sold in 1978 to Decker, Inc. and was used as a company that distributes juices. It should be noted that the Bowman Dairy that operates out of Chicago is not connected with the dairy that started here in Fitchburg.
For a general history on the progression of homemade butter and cheese to creameries to dairy farms in Fitchburg click here.