Who Cleared Your Land?

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Harry and Dina Munniksma house on the corner of Sagert and Boones Ferry Roads. Living Savior Lutheran Church now occupies the spot.
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In 1852, young Jimmy Luster, a single man, settled on 160 acres of land in Section 2S,1W in Section 26. After his untimely death in 1857, his land was sold, re-sold and broken up into smaller portions.

The following article was written by Ann Martinazzi, reporter for the Tri-City Times newspapers who published it in 1962. The Munniksma dairy farm site is now occupied by Living Savior Lutheran Church on the corner of Boones Ferry and Sagert Streets.

Valley Farms Dairy Bows to Progress

Tualatin—A huge dairy barn, more than a half-century old, is being torn down at the west end of Sagert Road in Tualatin.

Owned by retired dairyman Harry Munniskma, the landmark was for many years the main plant for Valley Farms Milk Company, which delivered milk to the towns of Tualatin, Tigard, Sherwood, Wilsonville, Lake Grove and Portland.

Although it has now served its purpose and repair costs are too high, the barn will remain in the community’s history. It has been used for storage for the past five years and is being razed by a Newberg party for the “first-class” lumber inside.

The barn was built in 1907 by Pike Davis to raise race horses. The nearby house on the same property was built in 1908. Munniksma came to the United States in 1906 from Holland and worked in the tunnels under the Judson River in New York. He returned to Holland and ran a successful fish market for two years before deciding to return with his wife, Dina, in 1909. He moved from Portland in 1920 and started a dairy.

In 1925, he moved the dairy to Boones Ferry Road and, in 1929, bought his present farm, converted the horse stables into a dairy barn and began his business with 15 cows.

Eventually, he built a pasteurizing plant and made his establishment a Grade A dairy. Nearly $20,000 in machinery was bought for the dairy barn.

Fifteen farms in the vicinity brought their milk to him for distribution until the Dairy Co-op was established, which increased his work. To help operate the dairy, Munniksma hired one farm hand, two milkers and three drivers throughout the year. During the summer, many more were employed for haying, since he raised almost all of the dairy food.

At the peak of his business, Munniksma had 50 milch cows on the farm, with another 17 milch cows kept in the Blank barn in Tualatin, now owned by Dick Price.

All was not pleasant for the early morning milkman. He recalls the milk strike in the early ’40s when he rode shotgun while his son drove his milk truck for fear his milk would be dumped. Farmers were also scared when they found planks with huge spikes placed in their driveways.

Three years ago, Munniksma, who will be 78 in March, retired and sold his business to a Portland dairy. He is now a “traveling man,” visiting between Los Angeles, where his son John lives, and Tualatin, where his two daughters, Mrs. Earl Sagert and Mrs. Melvin Salzer, reside. He is currently living at the Salzer home.

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