Industries of the Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis Railroad: Evaporated Milk (Part 1)

The Dixie Flyer, the Official Newsletter of the NC&StL Preservation Society, Spring 2016

The following are excerpts from the NC&StL Bulletin, March 1945

Carnation Co., Murfreesboro

The evaporated milk plants of Borden Co. in Lewisburg,, Tenn. (left), and Carnation Co. at Murfreesboro, Tenn. (right), both opened in 1927. They purchased milk from local dairy farmers and shipped out via the NC&StL. NC&StL Bulletin photos.

In the above picture of Carnation’s beautiful plant at Murfreesboro, Tenn., we’re only given a glimpse of its size.  When the war clouds have lifted, we hope to make a better picture, including the excellent rail set-up which serves this important industry.

Attracted by the territory’s abundant crops and pastures green almost the entire year, the Carnation Co. became interested in Middle Tennessee late in 1926 as an advantageous place to locate one of its evaporating plants.  Careful investigation of the entire area was made be-fore the company chose Murfreesboro, county seat of Rutherford County, as the site of its new plant.  Construction work began in April of 1927 and proceeded rapidly, so that the plant was ready to receive its first milk on July 1.  All expectations were exceeded right from the start.  The plant’s establishment has proven to be a wise enterprise, for in the intervening years it has become the center of an important Carnation Co. operation, and it has brought additional prosperity to a wide area.  Considerable development work was undertaken, raising the territory to a high degree of dairy productivity as more and more farmers in Rutherford and nearby counties realized the profit of increased milk production.

This milk, most of it from fine Jersey herds, has been coming to the plant in increasing quantities to meet the growing demand for canned milk. Substations are maintained in several adjoining counties, and the milk is processed at Murfreesboro.  The plant’s capacity at present stands at nearly one-quarter of a million cans of Carnation Milk per day.

Murfreesboro’s fertile territory covers a vast stretch of level farm and pasture lands, interspersed with little hills and glades where great flat sheets of limestone rock come to the surface.  With a climate mild and abundant in rainfall, with soil rich in limestone, the section not only boasts areas of luxurious pasturage but also a record number of field crops.

The large Carnation plant, with pleasingly landscaped grounds and a tall smokestack (not visible in the above picture) seen as a landmark for many miles around, is located on one of the historic spots of the Old South.  For besides its agriculture and dairying, Murfreesboro and the surrounding country also are noted for a background rich in historic events.  It was there that the Battle of Stones River was fought during the War Between the States.  Andrew Jackson, early president of the United States, practiced law there, and James K. Polk, another president, was married in Murfreesboro.  It is currently in the news, and of much interest, as the home of Mrs. MacArthur, Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s wife.  Many old-time mansions add their enchantment to the natural charm of this beautiful Southern city, located 32 miles from Nashville, Tenn., on the main line of the NC&StL Ry. running from Memphis to Atlanta, Ga.
— NC&StL Bulletin, March 1945.


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