The Hansen dairy farm represents the contributions immigrants made to territorial Utah history
Christian Hansen was born January 15, 1820, in Skuldelove, Frederiksborg, Denmark. He served in the Danish military. Upon his return, he married Elizabeth Ericksen. In the year 1852, he was contacted by missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and he and Elizabeth were baptized and emigrated to Utah. While living in Brigham City, Utah, Church leaders asked Christian and Elizabeth to participate in a cooperative economic endeavor, the Brigham City Mercantile and Manufacturing Association. They accepted and, with Elizabeth’s knowledge of dairy farming, commenced a dairy operation.
Their dairy farm officially began operating in 1871, and a large stone building was constructed to house the farm. For the next ten years, the farm grew to employ over twenty-five local “milkmaids,” and by 1877 the Hansens produced over 50,000 lbs. of cheese a year. It formed one part of a larger, more significant whole, and was part of one of the only moderately successful Latter-day Saint community cooperatives of its time. By the year 1879, however, the cooperative system collapsed, and farm continued running in private hands for only a few years before it also fell into disarray. Thereafter, the Brigham City area transitioned to shepherding as the major local livelihood.
The Hansen’s farm remains important historically for the technology incorporated into the stone dairy building, the economic impact it had on Box Elder County, and the example it sets of the larger United Order movement in Utah. The building sported unique architecture which used a mountain stream to cool the floor of the building, making it possible to store milk while it was due for processing. The economic impact included employing many young people in the area, extra income for the cattle owners, and a strong department in the Brigham United Order.