The collection consists of the business records (including correspondence, financial records, publications, legal documents
and other materials) of the Excelsior Creamery Company and its affiliated organizations, the Excelsior Ranch Company and Excelsior
Farms. A sizeable amount of financial records in the collection between 1925-1966 show various annual and monthly profit
and loss figures and balance statements for the company and record its growth over the years. There are materials regarding
a few other Orange County area dairies acquired by the company and an extensive amount of land records which indicate the
extensive amount of property acquired by the Excelsior Creamery over the years.
Walter Daniel Ranney (1875-1949), his wife, Florence Knettles Wycoff Ranney (1877-1949), and their four children moved from
Groton, New York, to Santa Ana, California in 1913. That same year W. D. Ranney established the Ranney Sanitary Dairy. In
1915, he and Charles F. Heil bought the Excelsior Dairy, which Henry Russell and E. D. Burns opened in Santa Ana earlier that
year. W. D. Ranney’s brother, Joseph A. Ranney, moved from New York to also join in the business, and in 1917 the name of
the company changed to Excelsior Creamery. In 1920 they purchased Taylor’s Ice Cream Factory in Santa Ana and entered the
ice cream business, selling Excelsior ice cream in chocolate, vanilla and strawberry flavors. In 1922 the Excelsior Creamery
opened its $150,000 three-story complex on East First Street in Santa Ana. The Excelsior Creamery was the first in Orange
County, California, to use the milk pasteurization process and to offer frozen orange juice for sale.
In the 1920s they leased pasture land for the creamery’s cows in Round Valley, California, near Bishop, and in 1922 they purchased
400 acres to accommodate milk cows at Prado, California, just west of Corona. The Excelsior Ranch Company, created in 1930,
separated the farming operations and dairy from the creamery, and in 1937 they purchased 100 acres of property in Garden Grove
along with the cows and the dairy operations from Raitt’s Dairy (Orange County’s first dairy farm, which began operations
in 1896). Following the Santa Ana River Flood of 1938, their Prado property was acquired through eminent domain by the government
in order to build what became the Prado Dam, and afterwards all their dairy farming operations continued at what grew to be
the 240 acre Seventeenth Street ranch in Garden Grove. The Excelsior Ranch Company dissolved in the early 1950s, the Garden
Grove property was sold for the development of homes in 1953, and in 1957 Excelsior Farms was created and began cattle ranching
in Norco, California.
Upon its sale to the Los Angeles-based Carnation Company in 1980, the Excelsior Creamery’s sixty-five year dairy industry
business came to an end.