Highlights from the History of Needham in 100 objects
Needham's Dairies
Because they could not successfully grow grain, Needham farmers relied upon the products more suited to their riverside lands - garden crops, hay, and especially cattle. One of the most attractive features of Needham's land to the early settlers was the availability of grazing land for their cattle which, unlike most livestock, thrived in Needham's plentiful wet riverside meadows. By 1900, there were eight commercial dairies in Needham, the mainstay of its agricultural economy.

The most famous was the Walker-Gordon farm on Central Avenue known as "Dairyland." The company was founded to make infant formula like mother's milk, then expanded to produce milk for people of all ages. Sanitary conditions were paramount as the company aimed to produce the highest-quality milk at a time when there were no regulations governing milk production, and contamination was frequent. Walker-Gordon played a key role in raising the country's standards for fresh milk production.

"Dairyland thrived from the 1930s to the 1960s and was a popular destination for Needhamites in search of a delicious bowl of ice cream and a tour of the farm.

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"Welcome to Dairyland"
Walker-Gordon pint bottleWalker-Gordon pint bottle