Then and Now: Bowman Dairy Company, Mokena
October 24, 2012 8:32PM
Bowden Diary Company of Mokena in the early Twentieth Century. FROM THE DAVE BELDEN COLLECTION
Updated: November 26, 2012 6:11AM
In 1885, J. R. Bowman entered the Chicago dairy market by purchasing the milk business of M. A. Devine. Six years later he sold his St. Louis operation and moved to Chicago where he formed the Bowman Dairy Co. Over the years, Bowman expanded its markets outside of Chicago and built large bottling plants on the South Side of Chicago. One plant was built on Wolf Road adjacent to the Rock Island Railroad tracks in Mokena. The Bowman Co., once an employer of more than 3,000 Chicago employees and a leading supplier of dairy products in the Chicago area, also was one of Mokena’s more flourishing enterprises. The plant existed for a number of years and was eventually converted into a brewery and wallpaper mill. In February 2004, the old factory building was razed, clearing the way for a retail and residential center. Bowman continued to flourish as a large business until 1966, when it was purchased by local rival, Dean Foods. The Then photograph shows the dairy plant looking southwest across the Rock Island tracks. The Now photograph shows a similar view of the location today.
The Then photograph is from David Belden and the Local History Project digital collections. The Now photograph was taken by Christine O’Brien.
David Belden is a history teacher at Minooka Community High School and is publishing local postcard books with Arcadia Publishing in his local history classes. If you are interested in contributing a postcard image, please email him at email@example.com or call 815-467-2140, Ext. 260.