Community Arts Council
Brick Wall Sculpture
Arts on Broadway
Downtown Sugarcreek, Ohio

Panel 3 - Cheese and Dairy

Cheesemaking has been an important part of the history of the area. Many large and small dairy farms are scattered throughout the valley. The Ragersville Valley is one of the most intensely populated (by cattle) areas in the state. This panel shows three time periods of milk hauling trucks, four dairy barns and four calf hutches. At its heyday in the 1930’s there were 40 cheese houses in our area, according to an article in The Daily Reporter (a newspaper published in Dover) from 1935. Early on, cheese was made in huge copper kettles and formed into 200-pound wheels. One can see some of the old kettles at area museums and can view the cheesemaking process in the panel. Jacob Steiner brought the first copper kettle to the United States and was the first to produce Swiss Cheese in Auburn Township in 1833. That copper kettle is on display in Ragersville at the replica of the Steiner cheese house. Today, stainless steel vats are used and much of the cheese is formed into blocks weighing approximately 100 pounds. Area cheese makers are noted for winning the state cheese making competition. Note also the representations of some of the Swiss cantons in this panel and the cow bells that are an important part of the Swiss heritage.