Melvin Sinton started the Sinton Dairy in 1880 and was soon joined by his brother George. They started with twelve red cows to produce fourteen quarts of milk costing 10 cents delivered daily with a horse-drawn wagon. Their first barn was built near the corner of East Willamette Avenue and North Corona Street in the Shooks Run floodplain, where the cows could graze in the lowlands and access the creek for water.
Shooks Run flooded in 1885 so the brothers moved the dairy headquarters to 419 South El Paso Street in 1887. They leased a barn near Prospect Lake (built in 1890), and the area around their headquarters, barn, and cattle pastures that today is known as the Hillside Neighborhood was called Sinton’s Hill.
The company incorporated in 1906 and introduced pasteurized milk to Colorado Springs in 1907. As the company grew, it bought the Holland Dairy farm in 1924 north of town, leased land near what is today Peterson Air Force Base, then in 1928 bought two ranches in Stratmoor Valley along Fountain Creek south of the city. In 1937 trucks replaced the horse-drawn wagons, then the company moved to a new plant built in 1955 north of the city, on what is now Sinton Road. By the 1980 Sinton Dairy was the state’s largest independent maker of dairy products.
Both founder Melvin and his nephew Herbert, who took over company operations, served on City Council. Melvin also served as an El Paso County Commissioner and through his work with the El Paso County Pioneers Association was central to establishing the Pioneers Museum in 1937. The dairy made a lasting contribution to Colorado Springs, but its legacy has faded with time. Part of the Stratmoor Valley ranches were turned over to Fort Carson in 1941, other lands were converted into a regional park in 1973.
The company was sold to Associated Grocers in 1980. The Dairy Farmers of America cooperative and Sinton’s management bought Sinton after Associated Grocers filed for bankruptcy in 1987, then in 2009 the firm was acquired in by the Mexican conglomerate Lala. As part of the shift to producing ultra-pasteurized milk with a long shelf life, Lala replaced the Sinton name with Promised Land Dairy in 2016. Many citizens will fondly remember growing up with Sinton’s milk and Sinton Road remains a lasting reminder of the company’s influence on the city.
Generously Submitted by Dr. John Harner, Professor of Geography & Environmental Studies, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs