Plymouth Cheese


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The Wisconsin Cheese Exchange was established in Plymouth in 1918 with roots dating back to 1879. In the early 20th century, several similar exchanges formed. Over the course of time, Plymouth’s Wisconsin Cheese Exchange became the most prominent location. Initially, cheese was bought directly from several factories and assembled for packaging and distribution by dealers. Subsequently, cheese factories established Dairy Boards that served as meeting places for factory representatives and cheese buyers. By 1879, there were seven such Dairy Boards in Wisconsin. To encourage competitive bidding among dealers, a Call Board system developed whereby offers from cheese factories and bids from interested buyers were recorded on a blackboard with sales going to the highest bidder. The Boards typically served quite small regions, often individual counties. In 1909, the Dairy Board located in Plymouth changed its rates to permit any factory in Wisconsin to sell on the Board. This was an important step in making it the largest Board in the state. In 1913, it was renamed the Plymouth Central Call Board of Trade. At that time there were six other Call Boards in the state. In 1918, the Central Call Board of Trade was reorganized to give full membership only to dealers and was incorporated as the Wisconsin Cheese Exchange. In later years, this firm was rechristened as the National Cheese Exchange, and in August 1956 it was moved to Green Bay, Wisconsin. In 1997, it again relocated, this time to Chicago, Illinois. The Board endures today as part of the famed Chicago Board of Trade. Plymouth Cheese Exchange by artist Bernie Poff is sponsored by Master’s Gallery Foods.