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The origins of the Lakemont Dairy stem from a simple story: a mother wanting to provide her children with adequate milk in order to meet their nutritional needs. The Lakemont Dairy was started by Clara B. Ward, wife of C. Frederick Ward. Although old newspaper articles state that the dairy was begun by her husband, her descendents reveal that it was indeed Mrs. Ward that got the enterprise going. According to her family, Mrs. Ward was extremely concerned about having enough milk for her children, so she purchased a cow in order to meet the needs of her young family. When her neighbors (who were also in need of milk for their children) realized that she owned a cow, they inquired about any surplus milk. Consequently, she purchased another cow to fill the needs of her friends and neighbors.

The Lakemont Diary was established in 1906. When the business opened, it had a total of four cows: the Wards had acquired one cow from an uncle and another from a grandfather. The cows were milked by hand and the milk was then strained, bottled and delivered. A horse and wagon was the method of delivery, and deliveries numbered two a day, as there was no equipment for refrigeration or pasteurization at that time. By 1912, the Wards had bought out two other dairies and installed milk coolers, thus reducing the number of daily deliveries to one per day. In 1917, Carroll L. Ward (son of Clara & C. Fred Ward) took over the dairy and ran it over 40 years. The original herd was made up of Jersey cows, but over time, the herd became 100% Guernseys. In 1934, Carroll Ward installed electric milking machines and plate glass windows, thus providing the public the opportunity to view the workings of a modern dairy. In the late 1940s, the herd numbered 200 and they provided 700 gallons of milk a day. Upon the end of World War II, Carroll Ward Jr. returned home from the service to become the third generation of Wards to work in the dairy industry.

In 1952, the Wards closed their plant and sold their dairy routes in Winter Park, Maitland, and Orlando. They sold the routes to another important name in the dairy industry, T. G. Lee. They then became milk producers for the T.G. Lee Dairy. In 1957, Carroll L. Ward Sr. divided the herd and property equally with his son. Their property had become increasingly valuable as an area of development to the rapidly growing town of Winter Park. Upon the sale of this property, Carroll L. Ward Jr. moved his herd to a new location and continued to produce milk for the T.G. Lee Dairy.

The original site of the dairy was located on Lakemont Avenue, which was considered the outskirts of the city at that time. Winter Park High School and several neighborhoods now occupy that area.




 

A photo of Clara B. Ward, a beloved figure in Winter Park. Her concern for her children’s health led to the start of the Lakemont Dairy.

A photo of Carroll Ward Sr. (right) looking over early dairy equipment with another renowned dairy man, Mr. T.G. Lee.

* This photo was taken from Countdown for Agriculture: In Orange County, Florida. Author: Henry F. Swanson. It is located in the Winter Park History & Archives Collection under the call number WP 630.9759 Swa.

Carroll Ward Jr. is shown here working with a few cows from his Guernsey herd.

Little Clara Ward is shown here feeding an orphaned calf. Clara is the daughter of Carroll Ward Jr.

News article from the Winter Park Sun, dated March 21, 1957, announcing the sale of the Lakemont Dairy property.

Image of a one-quart milk bottle from the Lakemont Dairy.
The lettering states:

LAKEMONT DAIRY

CARROLL L. WARD
& SON

GOLDEN GUERNSEY

WINTER PARK
FLORIDA





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E-mail: bwhite@wppl.org
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