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Jessup established Glendale family dairy in 1919


Jessup Certified Farms, established in 1919 by Roger W. Jessup with

just 40 cows, brought acclaim to Glendale as one of the largest

individually owned dairies in the United States. By the 1960s, more


than 1,200 cows were milked twice a day on the 27-acre dairy.

Jessup was a young man living in Salt Lake City, working at a

newspaper and raising a few cattle on the side, when he met and fell

in love with Marguerite Rice, who had just spent the winter in San


Diego with an aunt and uncle. She convinced him to pull up stakes and

start a dairy in California, so, after Jessup served in France in

World War I, the couple moved to Southern California and rented a

dairy in Burbank, near where the Pickwick Gardens center stands


By 1919, Jessup was ready to buy a dairy of his own and purchased

one in Glendale for a $10 gold coin. His grandson, Rich Jessup of

Glendale, has the original deed, showing that for his gold coin,


Jessup received several cows, one Holstein bull, five pigs, eight

chickens, one cow barn, a portion of a house, 50 cases filled with

milk bottles and a 1915 Ford delivery truck and the delivery route

that went with it.

The dairy’s 16 acres, known as the Kohlmeier ranch of west

Glendale, were bordered on the west by Griffith Park, on the east by

the Southern Pacific Railway and on the north and south by the

McAnany and Peverly ranches, respectively. In those days, Glendale


only had about 10,000 residents, so the dairy was quite a distance

out of town.

Once Jessup purchased the dairy, he had to figure out how to get

the cows he already owned from the Burbank dairy to the new place in


“Trucks were too small in those days to hold more than two or

three cows, so they had a good old-fashioned cattle drive along

Riverside Drive,” Rich Jessup said. The cattle were driven down into

the dry Los Angeles riverbed, along the riverbed for a few miles and

then up the sloping bank to their new home. “This was before my dad

was born, but he told me the story many times.”

His father was Roger Vincent Jessup.

Field Elementary School was under construction at the time, so

Jessup bought several of the soon-to-be-demolished-houses and moved

them onto the ranch. The couple lived in one and the others were

occupied by ranch employees.

Marguerite Jessup prepared food in the cookhouse for all the hands

and also kept the books. Together they built up the dairy.

A 1931 article in “The Glendalian” described the dairy’s entrance

from San Fernando Road: “Visitors to the farm -- and there are many

every day -- are greeted by a profusion of brightly colored flowers,

green hedges and shrubbery.”

One of the largest pepper trees in Glendale stood by the entrance

and was guarded by a colorful peacock.

* NEXT TIME: More on Jessup Farms.

* KATHERINE YAMADA’s column runs every other Saturday. To contact

her, call features editor Joyce Rudolph at 637-3241. For more

information on Glendale’s history, visit the Glendale Historical

Society’s website at www.glendalehistorical .org; call the reference

desk at the Central Library at 548-2027; or visit the Special

Collections Room at Central (open by appointment only).