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From the Nov. 21, 1942, Eagle

Eagle Archives, Nov. 21, 1942: War forces dairy farm in Pittsfield to sell out

War labor shortage and other difficulties have brought about the discontinuance of another large dairy farming project in Pittsfield.

After 31 years, dairying will be discontinued at Westenhok Farm, 350 Williams St., following an auction sale Wednesday, Dec. 9, of its herd of 60 grade Guernseys, complete machinery and tools, and produce in storage including about 150 tons of hay.

Mrs. Charles H. Wilson, the owner, will retain the real property which has been in her family many years. Four years ago, Charles C. Noonan, formerly manager, rented the farm on an inventory basis and has since operated it. He also rented part of the adjoining MacPherson estate for additional crop land.

The auction will be in charge of E.M. Granger of Thompsonville, Conn.

Mr. Noonan and his family, who have been here 14 years, expect to leave Pittsfield but have not completed their plans. They came here from Vergennes, Vt., where they were on another farm.

According to Mr. Noonan, the decision to discontinue the farm was due principally to the extreme difficulty of procuring farm labor, a condition which has been an increasing handicap in local farming since March. He has been unable to secure adequate steady help for milking, as well as other farm operations. Moreover, he said, curtailments of gasoline for the farm trucks and machinery, and oil for heating water in the dairy, have constituted another factor. Added up, war restrictions have made it “almost impossible to keep going,” he says.

Westenhok produced a special grade of milk which had a ready market. When the compulsory pasteurization movement began six years ago, the milk was no longer distributed independently by the farm but sold to dealers. The farm also has produced large quantities of oats, potatoes and corn.

Westenhok farm has been an outstanding example of successful practical farming operation hereabouts, and Mr. Noonan has been active in Grange, Farm Bureau and Pittsfield Farm War Action Committee work. Mrs. Wilson, the owner, has served as chairman of the Berkshire County Trustees for Aid to Agriculture and a trustee of Massachusetts State College.

This Story in History is selected from the archives by Jeannie Maschino, The Berkshire Eagle.

Community News Editor / Librarian

Jeannie Maschino is community news editor and librarian for The Berkshire Eagle. She has worked for the newspaper in various capacities since 1982 and joined the newsroom in 1989.

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