By Chris Jacobsen & Heidi Madden
If you were to stand facing north at the intersection of 8th Ave. NW and NW 105th today, you would see rows of ramblers built in the early 1950s during the post-war building boom. You would hear traffic from Holman Road and Greenwood Ave. N. But years ago, my parents, Art and Betty Jacobsen, lived in a quiet farmhouse on a dairy farm at this very location.
In the early 1940s, Art and his older brother, Chris, owned and operated the Pedersen Dairy, formerly called Puritan Dairy Farm. Its southeast boundary was roughly NW 105th and 8th Ave. NW. It stretched for about 20 acres – up the hill to the west, and north to the current border of Carkeek Park.
Art had moved to the Seattle area from Minnesota in 1934 at the age of 19. He joined Chris, who had already been in the area for two years.
In the late 1930s, the two brothers worked for their uncle, Harold Vikelyst, who owned the Puritan Dairy Farm. They met every morning at their uncle’s house, which was located at 10028 12th Ave. NW. The house, which was built in 1928, still stands today.
The Life of a Dairy Farmer
By 1941, Art and Chris had purchased the dairy from their uncle. Art and his new wife, Betty, moved into a farmhouse nestled in an orchard on the dairy property. The orchard had apple, pear and plum trees. Although the house and orchard are long gone, the address in 1941 was 10515 8th Ave. NW. The dairy farm was on land leased from Frederick Mueller.
There was a large barn on the farm and a pump house with a well that had “good water,” according to Art. Water for the troughs was pumped from a creek running through the property. Deer and coyotes were often seen, and even an occasional bear.
Life on the dairy was simple, but the work was hard and the hours long. Even with the help of Chris and hired hands, Art often worked 12 hours a day, and sometimes as many as 16 hours. And, because cows never take a break from producing milk, he was never able to take a day off. Most days, Betty would fix him lunch, pack it on her bike, and deliver it to him wherever he happened to be working on the dairy.
In the early 1940s, the country was still recovering from the Great Depression. Every dollar was hard earned, and Art and Chris had young families to feed. Chris would spend most of his day delivering milk for Charmed Land Dairies, as did Art when he was not working on the farm.
Art and Chris had owned the dairy for approximately seven years when Art was given the opportunity to purchase the land the on which the dairy stood for a $500 down payment and $10 a month on a contract. He declined. Instead, he and Betty purchased a home at 11515 Linden Ave. (now North Park Ave. N).
The land was sold to a developer, and shortly thereafter it was platted and developed for the homes that stand today.
Art’s work as a dairy farmer came to an end, but he did enjoy a long and happy career delivering milk in North Seattle for Charmed Land Dairies and later Kristoferson, Medosweet and Foremost Dairies. He retired in 1975.
Art passed away in October 2008 at the age of 94. Betty is still enjoying life at age 90.
Note: There were several other dairies in the area at the time. Check out this link (http://web1.seattle.gov/dpd/historicalsite/QueryResult.aspx?ID=-1349595983) for information on the dairy belonging to Art’s contemporary, Emil Mikkelsen.