Roadside Marker in HV Tells Forgotten Tale of Historic Factory
You've probably driven past this humble little memorial on the side of the road without even knowing it.
The marker remains mostly ignored, but those who've taken the time to look at it have learned about a forgotten business that once operated in the area and changed America forever.
The sign is located next to a fenced off natural spring near the intersection of Route 207 and Maybrook Road in Campbell Hall and says:
This spring, with an abundance of cool water, determined the site of the first butter factory in the United States
Owned by R.W. Woodhull, the factory was run by George Gouge, a famous butter maker who figured out how to mass produce butter and distribute it to the rest of the country.
At the time, Orange County was well known for producing "Goshen Butter." According to the Neversink Museum, New York was the country's leading supplier of dairy products during the 18th century. Farmers around the Goshen area supplied all of New York City with butter and eventually became famous all over the country. Goshen Butter was transported on wagons as far south as the Carolinas to be sold in stores. In fact, as the Civil War began, many in the South became angry after supplies from the North were cut off and they could no longer get their beloved Goshen Butter.
In 1856 R. W. Woodhull erected the very first butter factory on what is now Route 207. George Gough came up with a way to mass produce butter of high quality so it could be transported on trains across the country. The factory was erected near a natural spring, which was most likely used to cool down the butter during processing.
While the building is no longer there, the spring is still standing across the street from the Post Office. A road marker on Route 207 directs people down Maybrook Road, where the plaque is located.