Somehow, Adolph Woodrich had found his way to Eagle Point. Perhaps it was because of all the nearby dairy farms and the plentiful supply of milk.
Looking for a place to make his cheese, someone had told Adolph to take a look at the old Perry warehouse, just south of the flour mill on Little Butte Creek.
The cheese factory was purchased by Christ's Church of the Golden Rule, a controversial group that moved into the area and bought up some $800,000 in property, including auto campgrounds and large ranches. Sometimes called a cult, church members gave all their possessions to the church and were expected to "devote all their labors to the aggrandizement of the church."
When its charismatic leader, Arthur L. Bell, was removed from his position by the California Courts, for what the state's attorney general said was "the most magnificent racket of all time," the church went into bankruptcy, which returned the cheese factory to Adolph Woodrich.
But his cheese-making was finished, and the factory remained closed. He sold it in 1960 and died in 1979.
The cheese factory is now an antiques gallery owned by Eagle Point Mayor Bob Russell.
From Highway 62 in Eagle Point, turn right onto East Linn Road and continue to just before the bridge. Turn left and continue on North Royal Avenue past the covered bridge. The old, white, cheese factory will be on your right, just before Butte Creek Mill.
The warehouse was built about 1895, and because the property was owned at the time by the family that had built the flour mill, it's assumed the warehouse was used for wheat and other storage. Later, the lot was commonly known as the "Scale Lot," so it may also have been available to the rest of the community.
In the summer of 1930, Adolph Woodrich had come a long, long way.
Born in Switzerland in 1885, he learned how to make cheese on the family farm. When he was older, he studied at Switzerland's agricultural college.
Emigrating to the United States before he was 30, he continued his cheese education at the University of Wisconsin. By 1919, he was living in Rupert, Idaho, where he met and married Hedwig. Their son, John, was born in 1921.
There was more study at the Oregon State Agricultural College, and then the family was off for a brief stay in Klamath Falls.
Adolph was almost a cheese scientist, always looking for ways to improve his product. In 1929, he filed a patent on a milk-sterilizing apparatus that killed bacteria with an electric field. He subsequently installed his invention in the Eagle Point cheese factory, and residents said he was always tinkering and experimenting with it.
Adolph estimated it would cost about $5,000 and take less than two months to remodel the old Perry warehouse, pour a concrete floor and install his equipment.
He opened for business in the fall of 1930. He initially made American and Monterey cheese under the brand name "Ladino Clover." Ladino is the name of a protein- and vitamin-rich perennial grass that is still commonly planted in dairy pastures. Once up and running, Adolph promised to add Swiss cheese to the mix.
Less than a year after he opened his factory, the county sheriff foreclosed on the property owner and Adolph was able to buy it for less than $20.
For the next two years, what should have been happy times turned sad. Hedwig, his wife, got sick, the lingering illness worsened, and she died in 1933 at age 49. Adolph and his son carried on and became popular members of the community, especially with the children.
"You'd go in there," remembered a grown-up, "and if it was the right time, he would still have some of those yellow kernels, and he'd give them to us kids. Oh, it was good. That was really neat."
Eagle Pointers said he spoke at least seven languages, and in 1944 he served as an interpreter for prisoners at Camp White.
Following the war and a quick trip back to Wisconsin, Adolph sold the cheese factory and moved to Eugene.
Over the years, the old warehouse went through a number of different businesses, but even as late as 1990, people said you could still smell the cheese.
Writer Bill Miller lives in Shady Cove. Reach him at email@example.com.