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11th May
written by Richard

The dairy industry was once big business in San Diego. In the 1950s, dairy products were the third largest agricultural product in the county. One in fifteen San Diegans were connected in some way to dairying, according to one estimate. Mission Valley, today’s center of shopping malls and condominiums, was filled with dairy farms.

It began in the 1880s . . . the Dairies of Mission Valley.

Before freeways, sports stadiums, and shopping malls. Special Collections, San Diego Public Library


  1. 19/09/2014

    Looking for the name and location (business address) of a dairy that was located (1930’s 1940’s)on Mission Gorge Rd. near what is now the Big Rock & Mission Gorge Rd. area. It may have been located near the 8100 block of Mission Gorge Rd. (South side of Mission Gorge). Dan

  2. Marilyn

    It was Miller’s Dairy

  3. sam

    It was not Miller’s Dairy. Miller’s Dairy was located on Skyline Dr., in Lemon Grove.

  4. Greg Bishop

    MILLER DAIRY: OK. Help with more detail, please…. Was it WEST of Skyline Drive? Was the entrance (in the early 60’s) on the SOUTH side of MT VERNON? I seem to recall very nice landscaping at the entrance?

    Does anyone recall the address? People talk about it in newspapers and blogs, BUT they don’t give a detailed location. With no sign of its existence today, that seems pretty important.

    I lived in Lemon Grove from about age 6 (1951) to around age 16 (1961), then again in I believe the mid-to-late 70’s. Hilltop Drive, Adams Street, Massachusetts Avenue.

  5. John Stanton

    Knudson had a distribution center out that way. But the only actual dairy I remember anywhere close to there (Santee) was Alta Dena.

  6. Steve Martinez

    Hello Dave:

    The dairy was on the south side of skyline. Bordered by one block before Dayton drive.

    Used to live in That area when I was a kid. You can tell where it was by the housing track called Miller’s something.

    Thanks for your attention,
    S. Martinez

  7. Gary

    Golden Arrow Dairy was the dairy near the “pits” along Mission Gorge near Zion

  8. Kimberly Bowen

    The main entrance to Miller’s dairy was right at the end of Hardy Drive. I lived on Hardy Drive as a kid and we would walk over to buy popsicles and ice cream bars from the big chest freezer in the center of the drivethrough area. There were 2 fiberglass cows on the grass strip between the deep U shape of the drive. A Holstein by Mt Vernon and a cartoony looking on halfway down. We would pick (steal) oranges, figs, and pomegranates from the Miller’s yard. Their house was to the East of the drivethrough entrance. The kids in the neighborhood could watch the cows being milked over a wall. The cows seemed to just line up to be milked. Over another wall I saw a calf being born. We would go see the lone bull named Curly in his separate pen. We would visit the baby calves and let them suck on our hands. I had a few pet cats that came from there. Looking back, I think the people at the dairy kind of indulged us kids. The only thing they absolutely did not tolerate was playing on the hay bale stacks. We got ran off a few times for that, but it WAS probably dangerous! I was 11 years old when we moved to El Cajon in 1972. My family continued to have Miller dairy milk delivered till the day they closed. Needless to say I have fond memories.

  9. Gino Suter

    The Guglielmetti dairy was taken by the city of San Diego for their new stadium. Great Grandma Guglielmetti never wanted to sell the property, so the city condemned the the land and forced them out in 1966. To this day the remaining 2 girls who were rised there are still bitter for what the city did

  10. William Schmidt

    Anyone remember Doris Kramer. Her father was a dairy farmer in the San Diego area in the 1940s.

  11. Firsch Family

    That is a pic of our great grandparents’ farm! Awesome!

  12. Gino Suter

    Sorry to inform you that My cousin Pete Ferrari never bought out my great grandfather Tranquillo Guglielmetti`s place. When the city condemned the Guglielmetti dairy for the stadium it made the remaining 7 siblings very angry and hurt. Their mother would have never given up the dairy that they had built up over the years.

  13. Bea VanWyk McPherson

    My dad had a dairy in Santee on Mission Gorge Rd. I remember going with him to the Ferrari Dairy near the Navy golf course where Mission Gorge started to buy or sell a calf now and again. The grandmother would show me her baby lambs and offer me Italian cookies. She was always very nice to me and made a distinct impression.

  14. Brad

    There was a Challenge Dairy on the south side of highway 8, which was highway 80 back in early 1950’s. Think it was approximately opposite where the old May company was (looks like Westfield now), maybe near Hine Mazda. Next to the dairy was a real baseball diamond complete with dugouts, called Challenge Park where sponsored teams played ball with proper uniforms.

    Was reminiscing with the wife about playing pro ball as a kid, next to a dairy and that prompted an internet search where I stumbled onto this site. Wish I had photos of the ball park and dairy back then.

    Well that was over sixty years ago and I was blown away finding that Challenge still exist in some form with the very SAME logo on the butter pack! Amazing. Cheers from Australia.

  15. 23/07/2020

    My brother was the golden Arrow dairy child on one of their calendars in the late 50’s. I am trying to find him one.

  16. Cynthia Lewis

    My brother and I had our pictures taken holding full Golden Arrow Dairy Milk

  17. Jane Allen

    Are any descendants of the Allen dairy still in the area?

  18. Tim

    I delivered milk for Dairy Mart Farms. I think I was route 83.
    I delivered all of Rosecrans Street, NTC and Point Loma I delivered until Uncle Sam wanted to draft me. I had to quit my route in 1965. I join the Air Force and was in Viet Nam and Thailand 9 months later. Dairy Mart Farms took total advantage of me. They kept ALL the money I had saved as I was purchasing my milk truck. It was a 1960 Divco. They also made me repaint it because my name was on the side of the truck. They also kept ALL of my truck payments. I was 18 years old when I bought the route and truck. I was their youngest milkman. They totally screwed me!!

  19. Jim Cardwell

    Ferraris’ Dairy, across from the stadium, was the last in the city. It closed in 1968. After building Hwy 80 through the middle of the farm, the stadium taking all of the north pasture, an I-805 off ramp was planned to cut through the milk barn ending the dairy. The city would not approve a building permit for another barn. Pete Ferrari, when offered too little for his land, told the city and state to put their freeway somewhere else. He knew he couldn’t win. So in the spring of 1968, we milked the last string then helped load the herd on trucks. There was great sadness on that last day.

  20. Maria Baker

    Looking for information on Golden Arrow Dairy that was in North County offthe 76 and Rice Canyon Rd. I lived on the dairy and my dad worked the milk machines. Flew over it yesterday with my new pilot son and the house I grew up in is still standing though I’m sure, condemned. The only Golden Arrow Dairy that turns up on Google search are the south bay ones. This too was a Hodge endeavor as I remember Bob Hodge having the big house on the hill.

  21. Kris H

    There was a Golden Arrow Dairy on the south side of Highway 78 near Emerald Dr. in Vista.

  22. John McCambridge

    I lived in Mission Hills during the 50s and 60s. We would go down to the Allen Dairy, play in the barns go through the tube under the freeway. We helped feed the cows and milked them. A great time to grow up.

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