|City/Town: • Oklahoma City|
|Location Class: • Commercial • Farm|
|Year Built: • 1974|
|Year Abandoned: • 1998|
|Status: • Demolished|
|Photojournalist: • Billy Dixon • Michael Schwarz|
The Townley Dairy was one of my first explorations and has proven to be one of my favorites. It has been abandoned since 1998. The cause of the abandonment isn’t as cool as some of the stories I used to hear. Several of them being about deaths associated with the factory. There were two deaths that are supposedly linked to the factory; One being the death of a man struck by a dairy truck in ownership of Townley Dairy, the other being a delivery man who was killed in the OKC bombing of the Murrah Building. After researching the victims of the bombing it’s clear that the rumor is untrue. The true cause of the Dairy closing it’s doors was the termination of Guy Townley from Farm Fresh who had acquired the Townley brand in 1993. Townley had filed a suit against Farm Fresh, but the case was dismissed. Farm Fresh closed down the factory soon after focusing on other properties. However the factory is still listed on several agriculture sites under the dairy directory listing. The lot, which is just over 6 acres is actually for sale. Most of the land is empty field, with the factory, dock, and several storage sheds on the corner of the lot. The City of Oklahoma is looking to secure the location, so the future of this gem is uncertain. There have been 2 fires in the Dairy, both have been chalked up to arson. Below you can check out two KFOR Channel 4 videos of the second fire, which occurred on November 23rd, 2006.
Google maps satellite view still shows the Dairy in it’s pre-fire state, street view gives a more recent image of the damage caused by the fire. There is quite a bit left behind skids of plastic milk jugs, labels, office furniture, holding tanks, old machinery, paper work, manuals, and loads more things you’d expect to find in a factory setting. Most of it is damaged or scorched by the fires. The floor on the bottom level of the factory is heavily soiled with oil and flooded with water from rain. In several of the holding tank rooms you can get a slight scent of sour milk still. Definitely one of the cooler places I have checked out.
If interested in a bit of the history; here are a couple of the links I stumbled upon when doing some research on the location.
The first being an article on Guy Townley and his suit against Farm Fresh for his termination, the second being a pdf of the City of Oklahoma’s memorandum of securing the factory, and the last being the court record of Townley’s case against Farm Fresh.