His own family ran a dairy near 24th Avenue Northeast and Robinson Street.
“I started milking cows when I was five years old,” said Brockhaus, now 84 and retired from the nursery business in Noble. “There was one cow that Dad would let me milk.”
Their farm didn’t have electricity, so they cooled the milk with ice from the ice dock in Norman. They bought 600 pounds of ice a day. They delivered to homes for 10 cents a quart and sold milk wholesale to Gilt Edge for 7 cents a quart.
“We had house-to-house until it got to where we couldn’t buy tires or gasoline during the war,” Brockhaus recalled.
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When pasteurization of milk became more expected, most of the raw milk producers quit delivering.
“The inspectors got so tough on the raw milk folks that many of them went out of business,” he recalled. “At one time in Cleveland County, there’s no telling how many dairies were here. When they came out with pasteurization, they tried to make people feel like it wasn’t healthy to drink raw milk. But we know people who are 100 years old and drank raw milk all their life.”
Remnants of some of the early dairies can be found inside the Southern Cleveland County Museum in Noble. Brockhaus and other volunteers keep the small, free museum open on Fridays and Saturdays. The building formerly served as Noble’s water department, fire department and town jail.
The walls are covered with relics of another era in the county: country school class photos, kerosene lanterns, farm tools, a mule team harness, milk bottles, butter churns and old kitchen appliances.
A milk separator in the corner came from Brockhaus’ family dairy.
“I’ve turned that thing a million miles,” he said. “Lots of memories here.”