Historic Markers Across Florida

Bispham Dairy

Marker ID:  
Location: on US 41 at the site of the Historic Bispham Dairy in Sarasota, Florida.
County: Sarasota
Coordinates: N 27° 17.213    W 082° 31.840
  27.28688333    -82.53066666
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: WM4N83


Bispham Dairy

(side 1)
Jackson and Katherine Bispham started a dairy in 1922 north of Sarasota with Sarasota County Dairy Permit No. 2. Later that year Bispham moved his operation to the area of present South Tamiami Trail and Fiesta Street, named it Bayside Dairy, and rented the existing farmhouse. In 1927 he purchased the farmhouse and 20 acres on the west side of the Trail. For a quart of milk a day the Bisphams also rented land around Oyster Bay and Field Road.

The bottles and dairy equipment were washed in a wood-fueled steam-powered bottle washer and sterilized in a steam chest. An electric pump pushed water through a cooler to chill the bottled milk. In the late 1930s the dairy converted to electricity. Hand milking and deliveries occurred morning and night; therefore, the hired help lived at the farmhouse. Workers were paid $1 a day plus room and board.

In the early 1940s Bispham purchased his first milking machines and pasteurizer. The first bottler filled two bottles at a time and covered them with paper caps. Later the bottles were covered with a metal cap. Three kinds of milk were available: "raw", pasteurized, and homogenized.

(side 2)
As refrigerators became more available, milk delivery became once a day. During World War II, delivery became every other day. The dairy also processed and delivered light cream, heavy cream, chocolate milk, buttermilk, orangeade, grapeade, grapefruit juice, and pineapple juice.

By 1950, Bayside Dairy had approximately 125 producing cows in an area increasingly pressed by development. The Bisphams sold their land on South Tamiami Trail and moved their operation to 420 acres in the Gulf Gate area (near present Bispham Road) that they had purchased in 1941.

By 1957, Bayside Dairy moved once again, this time to Ibis Street off Clark Road. At this location the Bisphams purchased their first automatic milking parlor equipment, which milked six cows at a time. By the mid-1970s, two men could milk 100 cows an hour.

Bayside Dairy, with approximately 850 cows and 15 employees, ceased operation in 1987. It was no longer profitable to use the land for dairy operation. Instead, the Bispham family developed the land into the Serenoa subdivision and golf course.

Sarasota County Historical Commission. – 2002


City: Sarasota, FL