A History of STRUM
by Roy Matson
markets by large tank wagons affected area milk product manufacturing to some extent
but a continual increase in dairy cow population brought volume up. In 1945 additional
help was hired so that each man could have one day off per week. Heretofore, a seven day
work week had governed.

The price of milk fluctuated greatly during the next few years. $1.26 had been paid in
1946. This figure dropped to $0.80 in 1949, upped to $0.90 in 1953. Equity reserves up to
1944 were paid in 1948. Directors voted themselves $2.00 for regular monthly meetings
and $1.00 for a special call. In July, 1948 it was decided to quote the price of milk per
hundred weight, computed at 31/2% butterfat, with a $.07 differential. The next payment
was based at $3.12 per cwt. Through the next two decades prices rose steadily, $3.35 in
1965, $3.65 in 1966, and in 1970, $4.65 was paid for milk delivered in cans and $4.80 for
bulk delivery. The last figure in the minute book, dated February 20, 1975, 41 years after
the first entry, was $6.69 for can delivery, $6.84 for bulk.

The era of small creameries had seen many closings following the World War II years.
Changes from manufacturing of dairy products to whole milk sales seemed inevitable and
the change from can delivery to bulk pick up moved steadily. The scene had changed
locally. From twice a week pick ups by wagon and 30 gallon containers with milk being
measured by the inch to shiny insulated tanks equipped with high priced cooling apparatus,
then disposed to any number of speedy, clean delivery trucks whose mileage serving
patrons is astronomical.

The Unity Creamery Company is gone, but one thing is certain. Throughout about 90
years of about every kind of imaginable problem characteristic of the dairy industry it
preservered. There have been many men who gave years of service to this creamery.
Beginning with merchant Hans Willumson who straightened the first problems, the first
officers, Nels Hagestad and secretary Even Holte, a patron of 50 years. Old timers had a
party for Anton Rognlien, an early president, on his retirement. His successor was Paul
Moltzau during whose term the block building was constructed. Buttermaker Fred Hagen
deserves mention, and finally Minor Goss and Willard Gunderson. Minor assumed the
management of a practically defunct creamery during the darkest depression times, banks
were closed, markets were bankrupt and farmers dependent on meager milk checks. For
27 years he steered and held to a course that erased a large deficit and put the creamery in
a position of equity reserves and gave a satisfactory price for patrons’ products, which is
about all a co-op can do. Willard Gunderson began work as a helper in 1927 and
continued for 45 years, 38 of these as buttermaker and plant superintendent. The length of
uninterrupted service is an indication of satisfied patrons.

The Postal System

Strum has had a dozen different postmasters since Ole Kittleson hung out a shingle on
February 20, 1885, informing the few residents that he was postmaster and “Strum” was
the return address. he was followed by Ole Nysveen who serve(d) three times for a total of
approximately 22 years. The officers and the date they began service follows:

Ole Kittleson   February 20, 1885
Ole Nysveen   January 11, 1888
Ole Thomasgaard  June 25, 1889
Ole O. Nysveen  December 14, 1897
Ole O. Nysveen  January 9, 1903
Claude E. Burton  July 22, 1915
William H. Call  February 17, 1925
Elvin E. Strand  September 10, 1927
Ralph E. Lyon   May 27, 1936
Clarence P. Call  July 1, 1944
Gerald Bergerson  July 29, 1949
Clarence P. Call  April 5, 1957
Forrest Spangberg  August 5, 1958
Clarence P. Call  August 26, 1960
Douglas Runkel  February 16, 1961

Rural Fee Delivery began in 1900 on a route serving farmers north of town up to a rural