Jamestown Historical Society

Conanicut Island Dairies

Click on the images below to see them in our online catalog.

Alfred W. Bowser, a wounded Canadian World War I veteran, came to Jamestown in 1929 as the farm manager of Cajacet (also known as the Thomas Paine House). In 1937 he built the first modern dairy on Conanicut Island, Quononoquott Dairy located next to the Carr Homestead where he and his wife Maria Almy Carr lived. 

Bowser was in the dairy business seven years until 1944 when he sold the dairy to John M. Anderson, a former state trooper. At the end of World War II Anderson relocated the plant to125 Narragansett Avenue, the current location of Atlantic Landscaping. By 1947 the dairy’s name changed to Anderson’s Dairy.

According to Helen and John Anderson’s daughters, the milk was collected daily from 11 dairy farms and brought to the dairy on Narragansett Avenue, where it was processed, bottled and delivered. Because refrigerators were small, quarts and pints were the bottle sizes. Milk was delivered to homes 3 times a week. Store delivery was 6 days, and Sunday if needed.

Pint milk bottles were delivered to the school midmorning as part of the recess break. In those days children walked home every day for lunch. A tour of the dairy was part of the curriculum in the elementary school.

Helen Anderson was the bookkeeper. She was the business end of the dairy. The phone number was 47, one ring for the Anderson home and 47J, 2 rings for the dairy. The phone would ring in both places, but the Anderson children knew not to answer if it were 2 rings. The store, restaurant, business deliveries would cash out with Helen Anderson at home, every day. 

The Andersons sold the dairy to Arrow Lakes Dairy in late 1959.

Click here for more on the dairies.

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