Sartori building designation a worthy honor

ADD ANOTHER BUILDING TO the list of official historic places in the city of Plymouth.

The S&R Cheese Co. building in downtown Plymouth – now one of several Sartori Co. facilities in the city – has been officially added to the National Register of Historic Places.

There it joins the 52 Stafford building, the original Huson Water Tower and the entire Plymouth downtown district as federally-recognized historic structures or areas worthy of preservation.

The original brick and block factory was designed by Henry Schwalberg, built in 1891, and added on to in 1912. For nearly eight decades, it has served first the S&R Cheese Co. and then Sartori Cheese, as the family company is known today.

The historic register designation, sponsored and announced by the Wisconsin Historical Society, recognizes S&R/Sartori’s role in the transition from small, local cheese makers to the large scale industrialization of the cheese industry in the 20th century.

Over those years, Sartori grew to be one of the most successful and influential cheese companies in the state, with facilities in Plymouth and elsewhere across Wisconsin and the United States.

Sartori is regularly recognized in national and international cheese competitions for the excellence of their artisan and consumer cheeses. In that way, they have carried on the tradition of the hand-crafted, specialized cheese makers of the early days of the industry and spread that to markets and consumers throughout the nation and the world.

Like many other Plymouth cheese companies past and present, S&R/Sartori built their success on innovations and advancements such as a patented cheese curd machine and curd mixing and kneading machine, among many others.

Sartori is now in its fourth generation of family involvement in the business and its growth, with more generations certain to follow – again harkening back to the heritage of Plymouth’s cheese industry.

The Sartoris were founding members of the Wisconsin Cheesemakers Association and the American Producers of Italian-type Cheese, which later merged with the National Cheese Institute – which in turn is now part of the International Dairy Foods Association.

All of that has played a large part in keeping Plymouth the Cheese Capital of the World and in keeping the cheese industry the solid foundation of the city and area’s continued economic growth and vitality.

Now the roots of the Sartori Co. have been officially recognized as historically significant, a worthy recognition.

It gives Paolo Sartori, smiling down from the Walldog mural on the side of the historic Main Street structure, even more reason to smile and beam with well-deserved pride at what has grown from his humble origins.

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