Billy’s Milk Shed – Welch’s Ranch Tokens

Billy’s Milk Shed and his Welch’s Ranch Tokens.

In the day and age of quick trips to the store for a gallon of milk as well as refrigeration to preserve the milk we sometimes forget that our ancestors didn’t have those conveniences.

Billy and friends posing in front of old Welches Post Office
Billy and friends posing in front of old Welches Post Office

Billy Welch was a resort proprietor. He ran the Welch’s Ranch in a way as to include most supplies that the visitors, hotel guests, cabin dwellers as well as campers might need during their stay. He had a dance hall, restaurant, post office, was a notary public and operated a store, much like convenience stores of today, that had everything from candy for the kids to food for meals as well as other items of necessity.

In its early stages Billy’s store had no refrigeration. In lieu of coolers or or ice chests he had a cold shed down at the Salmon River where he had diverted the cold water from the river through the shed. It kept the shed chilled and things such as jars of milk could be preserved by sitting in the cold water bath.

To purchase your milk you would buy aluminum tokens at the store and then, as you needed milk, you would go to the cold shed and drop your token in the can and take your jar of cold milk. Billy had two denominations. One pint and one quart. On one side it read WELCH’S RANCH. On the other it read GOOD FOR 1 PINT or GOOD FOR 1 QUART.

Today these Welch’s Ranch Tokens are quite scarce.

Welch's Ranch Tokens for Milk
Welch’s Ranch Tokens for Milk

Welches Ranch, Welches Oregon

Here’s a great early view of the old Welches Ranch at Welches Oregon.

This view is after Sam had gone. You can see the store, post office, the dance hall and the white canvas tourist tents lined up along the road to the left of the Welch home. Billy’s cow pasture, which is now the golf course at the resort, is at the left side while his orchard can be seen on the right side of the photo.

When this photo was taken there was only a sign out at the Barlow Road, where the modern shopping center is presently located, directing people to turn south and drive to Welches Ranch one mile away.

Welches Ranch, Welches Oregon
Welches Ranch, Welches Oregon