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12 days of Saranac Lake-mas … day 8

(Photo provided by Historic Saranac Lake)

On the eighth day of Saranac Lake-mas, Historic Saranac Lake gave to you … dairies a-milking! Milk made up a major part of tuberculosis patients’ prescribed diets, which were designed to be high in fat and protein to combat the symptoms of “consumption.” Patients received glass after glass of milk as part of the daily routine of temperature checks, naps and exercise. As a result, large numbers of dairy farms opened in the area to meet the growing demand for milk. These paper bottle caps came from Mountain View Farm and McMaster Bros. Inc., two of dozens of dairy farms in the area.

A bonus fact — you may also notice that one of the bottle caps says “tuberculin tested.” Bovine tuberculosis is related to the bacteria that causes TB in humans, and can jump the species barrier to infect humans and other mammals. Because of this, the Board of Health ran tuberculosis tests on all dairy cows and checked milk deliveries for sanitary practices. A January 1923 entry in the Board of Health book read, “All herds furnishing grade A milk and cream in the Village tuberculin tested and free from tuberculosis, in compliance with the law.”

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