Milk hauling in the 1950's remembered by those who worked near - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Milk hauling in the 1950's remembered by those who worked near Stanley

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Stanley (WQOW) - The dairy industry has always been a key part of Wisconsin's history. But as with most industries, technology changed almost every aspect of the industry. Saturday, the Stanley Area Historical Society took a look back at the changes in milk transportation.

It wasn't always pretty...and it didn't always pay well.

"The money wasn't really that great but I liked what I did," said Charles Westaby, who began his own hauling business in 1960.

But for some Stanley residents, hauling milk was a way of life. On Saturday, a group of haulers gathered to share memories of what living life was like, one can at a time.

"I used to start about three in the morning, and then when you're hauling you get done around noon. You have a good day and you'd have about 10 hours. But if anything went wrong, it'd be much longer," explained Westaby.

The Stanley area used to have dozens of cheese factories who all needed milk. And delivering to them was often only part of a day's work.

"When I first started, I drove a school bus for 25 years! That was in the can days. And I had a little 40 acre farm," said Augie Mertens, who began hauling milk in 1943.

With so many stops to factories and farms, the friendships milk haulers made along the way were some of their best memories.

"Favorite part of the job is just talking to the farmers. I just enjoyed talking to the farmers and just seeing what they had to say," Westaby added.

The milk cans weighed around 100 pounds when full. It has now been replaced by large tanker trucks which are designed to haul larger amounts over a greater distance. But a few are still being driven by people who remember the can hauling history.

"I guess if I didn't like what I did, I wouldn't have done it this long so...I just enjoy what I do. And I'm still hauling milk to this day," laughed Westaby.

If you're wondering what the wages for milk delivery were back then, Charles earned just ten cents per every hundred pounds of milk he delivered.

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