Construction along Service Road in 2020 found a mid-20th-century midden. The artifacts found were associated with the history of temporary post-World War II student housing on Michigan State’s campus. After the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, or the GI Bill, became law, college enrollment increased …
The presence of international students on campus began early in MSU’s history. Not even two decades after MSU’s founding, four international students were enrolled for the fall semester in 1873. Two of these students were from Japan, one from Holland, and one from Canada . …
Hello, old friends. It is with a heavy heart that I say goodbye. It is a bittersweet farewell: I’ve finished my Ph.D. (a good thing),and it is therefore time for me to end my tenure with Campus Archaeology (a sad thing). The past three-and-a-half years spent with Campus Archaeology have contributed tremendously to my growth as a scholar and public archaeologist. For my final post, I decided to reCAP some highlights of my tenure as a CAP fellow.
Throw the Pipe Down the Pooper! – This is one of my most popular blogs, and you may be able to imagine why. It’s a fun read with a cheeky title, and writing this blog was a hoot. A rogue student throwing his illicit broken smoking pipe down the toilet to avoid getting caught with contraband—does it get much better than that? I think not. Plus, it’s my favorite blog title ever.
Ancient MSU – My first year as a CAP fellow I was tasked with writing a report on the only precolonial Native American site on the MSU campus. Part of the larger Beaumont West site, it is a small campsite dating to the Archaic period, which means it’s over 3000 years old. This was a time before the people of ancient Michigan generally used pottery, so as a pottery expert, this was a challenge. I am not, well, the best at lithic (stone tool) analysis. However, the process did improve and expand my analytic skills, and it helped me better acquaint myself with the pre-MSU landscape. There is not much in the way of ancient indigenous archaeological materials on any part of campus because, quite honestly, it didn’t used to be a great place to live. The campus is naturally very low and wet, so not an ideal living situation. The Beaumont West site is located on one of the most naturally high and dry parts of campus, of which some keen Archaic groups took advantage. This research project, in addition to conducting survey shovel tests across campus, helped me understand just how much the MSU landscape has been filled in and altered to make it the relatively level, dry ,and livable space it is today.
Capturing Campus Cuisine – This is, of course, my favorite project, as you can no doubt tell by my numerous blogs about food. However, this was more than just a fun project. It was an incredible opportunity to develop my experience in public archaeology, and it spurred my passion for creative outreach. From hosting the 1860’s luncheon, to having our historic meals featured on the MSU Food Truck, to our collaboration with the Student Organic Farm to bring back salsify (which is evidently trendy in Britain now, so we are on the cutting edge!), our project has been non-stop fun. Being able to reach out to people and identify with folks from the past through food has been a truly wonderful experience. Getting to eat some of the food along the way was also pretty cool.
Don’t Have a Cow – The discovery of the skeletonized cow buried six feet underground on campus this past summer was exciting, and the opportunity to help excavate it was a new and fun opportunity for me since I haven’t really worked on burials, animal or human, before. It also tied in nicely to my prior research and blogs on the history of dairy at MSU, which was also great because it gave me an excuse to eat cheese and ice cream.
CAPeople – It might sound trite, but the people I have worked with at CAP are what made my tenure as a fellow truly enjoyable. First,the opportunity to learn from and work with Dr. Lynne Goldstein was incredibly important for me. She has taught me so much about archaeology, outreach, and the inner workings of the university system, and she has been a supportive mentor as I explore my options outside of CAP. Working with Dr. Stacey Camp this past semester has also brought new insights and perspectives to my work,and I also appreciate her insider perspective on the figure skating world (she’s met Kristy Yamaguchi and Michelle Kwan!). It’s been a joy to collaborate with Autumn Painter on the food project for the past couple years. She has been a wonderful project partner (who enjoys food as much as I do), and to see her thriving as the Campus Archaeologists this semester has been great. I also had a great time working with Lisa Bright, my motivated and creative CAPtain for three years. The food project was initially her idea, so I owe a lot to her creativity (which also came in handy for developing punny blog titles).
There were also times when I would hang out with my friends and then suddenly realize that everybody there was a CAP fellow. CAP certainly helped me form lifelong friendships and bonds and for that I will always be grateful. That is, until I become a famous food travel TV personality and forget everyone… (we can all dream, can’t we?).
So, farewell, CAP blog readers. I hope you have enjoyed my ruminations and research. If you are interested in reading more about ancient food and pottery, follow my personal blog, Hot for Pots!
And farewell CAP. It’s been one crazy ride through history.
Author: Susan Kooiman
For the past several years, the Capturing Campus Cuisine project has resulted in some wonderful collaborations and outreach opportunities between CAP and other MSU programs. Our partnership with MSU Culinary Services has resulted in a successful historic luncheon reconstruction and “throwback” meals with the MSU ON-THE-GO …
Birthdays—at my age, they are just another day in our gradual and inevitable march through time, but my one pleasure in marking my incremental increase in years is eating cake. Cake is my favorite food, and I’ve mentioned it in other blogs before, but since …
So what does history really taste like? As you can read from Susan’s event preview blog post, this past week we hosted a 1860s MSU-inspired meal based on archival and archaeological research. This event took place through the collaboration of Campus Archaeology and the MSU Culinary Service, specifically Chef Kurt Kwiatkowski, Chef Jay Makowski, and MSU Baker Cindy Baswell.
Our menu included codfish ball appetizers; main dishes of walleye, spiced beef, turkey with oyster dressing, and beef tongue; sides of chow-chow, graham bread, and potato croquettes; and desserts of ginger cake and raspberry charlotte russe. We also had ginger beer (non-alcoholic) as a beverage option. This was included because Campus Archaeology uncovered a ginger beer bottle during the excavation of Saint’s Rest dormitory in 2005 (read more about ginger beer here. About 25 guests attended the event, ranging from anthropology graduate students and faculty to college administrators.
It was a wonderful meal recreation and I have created several videos below that give a view into what was put into the event, as well as the food that was created and some reactions to beef tongue!
As the meal was finishing, we asked the other guests what dish was their favorite; it ranged from the codfish balls and potato croquettes (with a side of chow-chow!) to a surprising enjoyment of the beef tongue! Personally, I really enjoyed every dish but I was most surprised with how much I actually enjoyed the beef tongue (as long as I didn’t think about what I was eating too much!).
Susan Kooiman and I are extremely proud of how this event came to fruition, and hope to continue researching the early foodways of MSU with Campus Archaeology! Later this week the website I have been building through MSU’s Cultural Heritage Informatics (CHI) Fellowship will be launched, which will detail the information that led us to create this event, an interactive map with interest points from historic MSU, and a designated page about the meal itself! Look for the announcement of the webpage on the CHI blog.
Author: Autumn Painter
As I’m sure any of our regular readers are aware, CAP has been looking into the foodways of the early MSU campus this year. Our ultimate goals for the project were to create a website documenting early foodways on campus, and to recreate an 1860’s …
You heard me wax poetic about dairy and the history of dairy production in my previous blog. However, as I pointed out then, the importance of dairy at MSU lies not only in the delicious cheese and ice cream produced but also in dairy education …
I am a Midwestern stereotype: I grew up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin. We sold our milk to a creamery in the Cheese Curd Capital of the World (Ellsworth, WI). Milk runs through my veins. I admire my vegan friends for their ability to resist the creamy deliciousness of cheese, ice cream, and yogurt, without which I would languish in despair. As you can guess, my interest in anything dairy-related is rather high.
Therefore I was delighted upon my arrival in East Lansing to discover the MSU Dairy Store. Most of you who have spent any time at MSU are familiar with the delicious flavors of the ice cream and cheese produced here on campus. Since we are in the middle of project documenting early foodways of the college, I thought it would be fun to explore a topic integral to both my personal history and the agricultural origins of MSU. This first in a series of two blogs about the history of MSU dairying will chronicle dairy production and manufacturing on campus.
In the earliest days of the College, the only cows on campus were kept by the families of the professors. Frank S. Kedzie, a former MSC president, was the son of one of the first professors, recalls that his mother made the first cheese on the campus grounds (UA 17.107, Folder 1, Box 2411). In 1867, Dr. Manley Miles, Professor of Practical Agriculture, bought the first dairy cattle for the college, which were Ayrshires. Jerseys were added to the herd in 1871, and the first Holsteins, the black and white standard dairy cattle, arrived in 1880 (Anthony 192: 12-13). Brown Swiss and Guernseys were slowly added into the mix, as well. We know from the early account books that the boarding halls were acquiring milk from the early herds of the Farm Department by 1871, if not before.
The first dedicated Dairy Barn was built in 1900 and held 100 cows. A new barn was constructed in 1929, which could house almost 150 heads of cattle and contained the most up-to-date equipment of that time (Anthony 1929:19). While updates were part of the reason for this move, another reason was disease. Tuberculosis wiped out most of the herd in 1904 (Anderson 1929), and contagious disease continued to plague the herd in the decades after. Those in charge of the dairy hoped the move to a new, sanitary location would break the disease cycle (Anthony 1929:16).
The first building containing a plant dedicated to dairy manufacturing was constructed in 1913. Known as the Dairy Building, it was located on the north end of Farm Lane and cost $55,000 (Anthony 1929:16). It contained a well-equipped creamery for the practical training of the students. The original Dairy Store was opened in this building, although the exact date of this event is unknown.
The Dairy Department and Plant remained in the Dairy Building until 1954, when Anthony Hall was constructed. Letters from the Michigan Agricultural Conference (1948), Michigan Purebred Dairy Cattle Association (1950) and Michigan Livestock Improvement Association (1952) to the state complained about the poor facilities and outdated equipment of the Dairy Building plant and called for improved agricultural, livestock, and dairy facilities at MSC (UA 16.37, Box 521, Folder 8). Following the construction of Anthony Hall—which was named after Ernest L. Anthony, the former head of the Dairy Department—the new dairy plant was highly productive. They provided milk to all of the residence halls, and made products such as chocolate milk, cream, half-and-half, sour cream, cottage cheese, buttermilk, dry milk, butter, and, of course, cheese and ice cream (including ice cream bars).
Dr. John Partridge, an emeritus faculty member of both the Dept. of Food Science and Nutrition and the Dept. of Animal Science, could be considered the Oral Historian of dairying on campus. He showed me and Lisa, our Campus Archaeologist, his stash of old dairying equipment, packaging, and photos from the mid-century era of the Dairy Plant. It provided us insight into the type of things we might encounter during our archaeological investigations on campus, such as historic milk bottles, bottle crates, and milk cans.
According to Partridge, the high level of productivity during the 1960’s become a point of contention with local private dairies, who did not feel it was fair that the MSU Dairy should have a monopoly on the campus milk market. Therefore, the dairy plant closed in 1968. In the meantime, local dairies found out how difficult it was to handle the fluctuating demands for milk of a college campus, and the dairy plant opened up again in the early 1970s. After this time the plant ceased to distribute fluid milk. The plant was gutted in the early 1990s and refitted with updated equipment.
John Engstrom, the Dairy Complex Manager, kindly gave Dr. Goldstein and several CAP fellows (myself included) a tour of the dairy plant in early February. The facilities are spacious, shiny, and clean, and we saw the production of the curd for cheeses take place, which thrilled this Cheesehead. Some of those curds were bagged and sold the following day in that form, while the others were packaged into box forms to be pressed and aged and sold as various kinds of block cheese later on.
The Dairy Plant currently focuses on producing shelf-stable cheese and ice cream. They produce 40,000 gallons in 40 different flavors of ice cream each year and 40,000 lbs of cheese in 11 different types or flavors. The milk is supplied by the 180 cows milked on campus in the Dairy Teaching and Resource center, as well as those milked in the Pasture Dairy center in the Kellogg Biological Station (although cream is acquired from another source). The MSU Dairy Store is both locally and nationally renowned, and you can even order their products online here.
While the long history of diary production and manufacturing on the Michigan State Campus is intriguing, the role of dairy in our institution extends far beyond just the delicious output of the Dairy Store. Part II of this series will explore the illustrious history of diary research and education and MSU, so stay tuned!
Author: Susan Kooiman
Michigan State University Archives & Historical Collections:
Madison Kuhn Collection. UA17.107, Folder 3, Box 2411
E. L. Anthony, History of Dairy Development at MSC, 1929.
Madison Kuhn Collection, UA17.107, Box 2411, Folder 2
A.C. Anderson, “The Dairy Herd” (1929)
Madison Kuhn Collection, UA 17.107, Folder 1, Box 2411
F.S. Kedzie, Letter to Mr. G.A. Bowling, Graduate Assistant in Dairy Husbandry, ca. 1955.
UA 16.37, Box 521, Folder 8