BSCBA - USA 1930-1939
"800 Pleasant - A Place Called Home"
Roger's Note: As you walk into the entryway of the national office
at 800 Pleasant Street in Beloit, Wisconsin, you are greeted by two
unique historical events of the Brown Swiss world or perhaps any
cattle breed. First, the building you just entered is one of the oldest
buildings in Beloit, being built in 1856 (Yes, I said “eighteen fifty-six)
and it is probably the oldest structure still in use in Rock County per
the Wisconsin Historical Society. Secondly, you are greeted by a
four by six portrait of Jane of Vernon and that is 4 feet by 6 feet, not
4 X 6 inches. Jane of Vernon has probably imposed a greater impact
on a breed nationwide than any other cow that ever lived.
During the early years of his tenure as Secretary of the
Association, Ira Inman kept the Association records in an office in the
basement of his home on his farm just north of Beloit. In the 1920’s,
the Association records were moved to an office in downtown Beloit.
By 1935, there was a need for a larger facility as the breed had greatly
expanded registering over 9000 animals in 1934, more than double
from the previous two Depression years.
The January 1936 Bulletin lead story was titled “Association
Purchases Own Building for Offices”. That building was located two
blocks from downtown on Highway 51 (Pleasant Street) and on the
Rock River. Built in 1856, the building was originally the Beloit Paper
Mill, the first paper mill in the Rock River Valley and the second in the
Wisconsin Territory. In 1858, it was organized as the Rock River
Paper Manufacturing Company. In 1882, Beloit College foreclosed on
a loan to the company and later sold it in 1888. During the next 40
years, it was occupied by manufacturers of overalls, bicycles, and automobile
parts. (The first automobile turn signals were manufactured
here by Beloit inventor Carl Lipman.) In the late 20’s, it was occupied
by a refrigeration company, upholsterer, and engineering company,
and an adjoining filling station (now office parking lot). The Association
purchased the then vacant building in 1936 for $3,500 and accepted
a bid to convert the old factory into an office building for $10,285.
The Association moved into the building in May 1937 and has resided
there ever since. See photos of building circa 1870’s-barely a road;
1900’s-basement windows still exposed; 1990’s prior to road reconstruction;
& current. Photo 5 is the sign gracing the north end of the
The 1930’s belonged to Jane of Vernon 29496. Born on
February 16, 1928, on the Orbec Sherry farm near Viroqua, Wisconsin,
she would influence the Brown Swiss breed as no one could ever have
imagined. Jane hit the show circuit as a 2-year old and astonished
judges as having the best 2-year-old udder they had ever seen. In
1932, Jane won her first Grand Champion honor at the National Dairy
Cattle Congress in Waterloo, Iowa. She also completed a record of
23,569 pounds milk and 1075 pounds fat on ROP. Jane repeated as
National Show Champion in 1933, 1934, and 1936. Jane had a son, Jane’s Royal of Vernon and four daughters, Jane of Vernon 2nd, Jane
of Vernon 3rd, Jane of Vernon 4th, and Jane of Vernon 5th. Jane’s
Royal and the “Four Janes” were purchased by Lee’s Hill Farm,
Morristown, NJ. Under the manament of Vernon Hull, Jane the 5th
was National Show Champion in 1940, 1941, and 1942, and her daughter,
Marinda Jane of Lee’s Hill was Champion in 1947, 1951, and 1952.
Jane herself was purchased by Judd’s Bridge Farm, New
Milford, CT, in 1936. At 17 years of age, she was laid to rest at Judd’s
Bridge Farm in May 1945. Her grave marker still may be seen at the
Judd’s Bridge Farm. The 6’ X 4’ portrait of Jane (see Photo next column)
may be seen in the entryway of the national office.
Other notable events of the 30’s include the following:
The February 1930 Bulletin announces that Thomas A. Edison,
famous American inventor, is the owner of a purebred Brown cow.
Another great cow of the 30’s was Illini Nellie 26578, who
was bred by Ira Inman of Beloit, WI, and sold in dam to the University
of Illinois in 1927. Nellie was born November 16, 1927 and was Reserve Grand Champion at the 1935 National Dairy Show. Her
biggest claim to fame was realized in 1937 as she became the new milk
and fat champion with her 8/4 record: 365d 3X 29590m 4.1% 1200f.
On April 5, 2003, the University of Illinois and Illinois Brown
Swiss breeders honored this great cow with the dedication of a plaque
to be placed on the stone marking her grave site. For more details, see
the Illini Nellie Story Continues in the May 2003 Brown Swiss
Bulletin on Page 39. A book on this event will be on display during
the Wednesday evening tour of the national office.