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).