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The Town of Taylor is in eastern central Cortland County, and has an estimated population of about 500 people.  The town is bounded by Chenango Co. on the east.  Formed from Solon, December 5, 1849.  The town includes the hamlets of Taylor Valley and Union Valley .  The land is very hilly and broken.  Solon Pond is located near the center of town and was used for milling power. The first settlers were Revolutionary War veteran Ezra Rockwell and sons in 1793, who came from New England .  Mills and agriculture, the latter in the form of dairies and cheesefactories, were important economically.  Agriculture is still a staple of the economy.

Solon Pond Cheese Factory

As written by Ruby Potter

Submitted by Nancy Elwood

     The cheese factory at Taylor Center was built by Charles and Willis DeLong around 1885. After the Delong’s, Arna Loope operated this plant for many years. This building is still standing and looks much like it did when in use.

     Arna continued to operate the cheese and butter factory for several years. During this time he lived with his wife Nina and children Edith and Ned in the small house on the Smith farm.

     Many people worked for him, his son-in-law Scott Brooks for many years. Scott and Arna both had attended Cornell University program on butter and cheese making. They entered cheese and butter at the State Fair often bringing home the coveted blue ribbon.

     Some people I can recall who worked there were Lora Garner, Clyde Whaley, Beardsley.

     Ice cutting was a major part of running the factory. In the summer months they needed the ice to keep the products cold. According to Taylor ’s Rollan Elwood, Carlton Elwood used to help cut ice for the factory back in the early 1900s. He remembers Clayton Smith had made an ice cutter from a gasoline engine and a buzz saw blade. He remembers hooking horses onto the lengths of ice and hauling them up an incline to the factory. He said ice would form on the incline and make pulling the ice easier. The ice was put in the ice house and each layer was covered with sawdust to preserve it in hot weather. One time Carlton fell in the water and had to borrow some dry clothes. Once in a while a horse would fall in and have to be rescued.

     Finally Arna decided to try something else or at least in a different place. A group of farmers formed an Association and bought the plant from Arna. As far as anyone has been able to remember they were Addison Bush, Walter Freeman, Clinton and Sam Brooks and maybe Charles Calkins. This association hired Scott Brooks to operate the plant for a year. Around this time J. A. Brudno of New York City got involved and other cheeses were made there to send to Jewish families in NYC.

     Alton Bush worked for Scott for awhile for $60 a month getting up at 3 a.m. Then Scott quit and Alton took over his job as manager getting the same wages Scott did - $120 a month plus milk, cheese, butter and cream. At one time skimmed milk was shipped to Cortland .

     Then what had been feared and hoped wouldn’t happen, did happen. Reid Ice Cream Co. of Cincinnatus bought them out. Butter and cheese were here no more. The building was made over to accommodate as a transfer station but was never used as such, and finally closed. Milk trucks started picking up mostly at the farms. The building was used for a feed store for several years. Pudneys store handling the feed for Sheerahs and the Baldwins  of Cincinnatus. H.H. Pudney bought the building. When the store was sold to George Hughes the factory was included in the sale. Hughes sold to Mr. Atwell who in turn sold to Lee Kibbe. The Kibbe Estate sold to the Delaware Enterprise Corp.  Now being rented by Floyd Smith for a work shop. Robert Brumale now owns the pond and the old cheese factory. Roy and Sharon Eltz own and live where the old store was.