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Guide to the Dolly Madison, Inc., Records, circa 1920s-1990s MSS 170

Guide to the Dolly Madison, Inc., Records, circa 1920s-1990s

MSS 170

Summary Information

This collection of Dolly Madison, Inc., records consists mainly of black and white photographs but also includes minimal correspondence, licenses and certificates, employee newsletters, and newspaper clippings. While many of the photographs are not dated, generally they range from 1939-1966.
Collection Title
Dolly Madison, Inc., Records
Date of Materials
circa 1920s-1990s
Dolly Madison Dairies, Inc.
Marigold Foods, Inc.
Tri-State Ice Cream Corporation.
Call Number
MSS 170
0.75 cubic feet
Physical Description
1 archives box
Language of Materials
La Crosse Public Library Archives

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Dolly Madison, Inc. Records, MSS 170, La Crosse Public Library Archives, La Crosse, WI

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Historical Note

La Crosse’s Dolly Madison Dairy at Front and Main Streets, in business under that name from 1939-1965, grew from several local and area businesses. Dolly Madison’s forerunner was Tri-State Ice Cream Corporation (1919). It combined La Crosse Ice Cream and Butter Company, founded in 1904 by Charles A. Hoeschler and William Ennison, and La Crosse Pure Food Company, founded in 1911 by H. W. Sorge.

Tri-State Ice Cream Corporation grew rapidly, opening several area branches and shipping milk, ice cream, and other dairy products to markets as distant as Chicago by 1927. They expanded in 1927, adding Schmitt Ice Cream and Butter Company of Winona and Gibson Ice Cream of La Crosse. Gibson’s ice cream recipe, originally made in hand-cranked freezers on Rose Street since 1902, continued to be produced by Tri-State for many years.

Dolly Madison brand milk and ice cream began to be produced by Tri-State Ice Cream Corporation in 1928, and in 1939 Tri-State adopted the name Dolly Madison. By 1944 Dolly Madison Dairy and 22 other companies formed the Quality Chek’d Dairy Products Association, which grew to over 150 independent members in 38 states and Canada by 1964.

In its heyday in 1964 Dolly Madison employed 90 workers and boasted a wide wholesale distribution network throughout the Midwest. The company operated 40 delivery trucks in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa, carrying a complete line of dairy products, ice creams, sherbets, butter, and eggs. Milk and eggs came from carefully monitored local farms. Dolly Madison’s La Crosse plant was notable for using the most modern and sanitary methods and machinery available.

Given its proximity to the Mississippi River it’s a wonder that the basement floor of the plant wasn’t destroyed with the 1965 flood. Amazingly, the plant remained in operation during this massive natural disaster. A large pump was positioned outside of plant and the entire basement and likely first floor was adorned with sandbags.

hortly after this, city planners began to develop an urban renewal project called Harborview which involved demolishing many historic buildings on La Crosse’s riverfront. The plant and office buildings were located in the heart of that initiative.

The Dolly Madison Company then merged with two other Quality Chek’d members, Marigold Foods Inc. of Rochester, MN, and Kemps Ice Cream of Minneapolis, taking the corporate name of Marigold Foods. The La Crosse headquarters moved to the Gateway Industrial Court under manager Charles Wuensch. “Dolly Madison Dairy, a Division of Marigold Foods” listings continue in La Crosse city directories through 1979. It was taken over by Kemps.

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Scope and Contents

Tri-State Dairy/Dolly Madison Dairies (div. of Mariold Foods, Inc.)/Kemps photographs include vehicles, people and awards, advertising, trade shows and promotional events; farm scenes, La Crosse plant and minimal views of the Reedsburg and Eau Claire plants.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

La Crosse Public Library Archives 2017 July

800 Main St.
La Crosse, Wisconsin, 54601
(608) 789-7136

Access to Materials

Materials in this collection are available for patron use.

Acquisitions Information

(Accession no. 2017.058) Donated by Todd Hansen, 15 April 2017

Processing Information

Processed by Anita Taylor Doering, May 2017

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Dolly Madison Dairies, Inc.
  • Kemps (Firm).
  • Marigold Foods, Inc.
  • Tri-State Ice Cream Corporation.


  • Black-and-white photographs

Geographic Name(s)

  • La Crosse (Wis.)--Photographs

Personal Name(s)

  • Hansen, Todd


  • Advertising photography--Wisconsin--La Crosse
  • Dairy products industry--Wisconsin--La Crosse
  • Dairy products--Marketing
  • Dairy products--Wisconsin

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Collection Inventory

Box Folder

Correspondence, 1942; 1986; 2003 

1 1

Licenses and certificates, 1946-1973 

1 2

Newsletters, 1964-1965; ca. 1990s 

1 3

Newspaper clippings, 1964-1968 

1 4


Box Folder


1 5

Farm scenes, n. d.; 1947; 1966 

1 6

Kemps, n. d.; 2003 

1 7

People and awards, n. d.; 1927-1971 

1 8

Operating plants 

Box Folder

La Crosse, undated; 1966 

1 9

Eau Claire, undated 

1 10

Reedsburg, undated; 1948 

1 11
Box Folder

Promotional events, undated; 1956-1959 

1 12

Vehicles, undated; 1937-1964 

1 13