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By Jack Hartley
Something was up. We were milking early. It was 1941 and I was 7 years old. Every once in a while we would milk the cows early and go to a movie at the Dixie Theatre in Odessa. My dad milked about 30 head of cows and we sold Grade A milk to Adams Dairy in Blue Springs. I knew we weren’t going to a movie because we headed the other direction in our old car. We were going to Noland Road and 40 Highway in Independence to a new business that had just opened called Dairy Queen, and there was already a bunch of mad dairy farmers there when we arrived.
The dairy farmers were protesting the new ice cream place that didn’t use milk or cream in their ice cream. Some of the farmers had signs, but it wasn’t stopping the people from going in and trying this new soft-serve ice cream in a cone.
They did not understand or know what a franchise was and little did they realize in years to come there would be thousands of Dairy Queens all over the world.
In 1938, the first soft-serve ice cream was invented in Joliet, Ill., and in 1940 they opened their first store. Dairy Queen was the first franchised fast-food store, and I believe Independence had one of the first 10 franchises. That means Independence would have had one of the first 10 fast-ood franchises in the world.
Laura and I frequently go to Dairy Queen at the local truck stop for a treat. However, I have never gone in to the place without thinking of the warm summer night about two dozen dairy farmers were picketing that store on Noland Road. The farmers did accomplish one thing. They got a law passed that prohibits calling any product “ice cream” if it has no dairy products in it. Consequently, all soft-serve ice cream-makers, including Dairy Queen, pour some skim milk in their formula.