You are here
The Fairmont Creamery Company was established in 1884 as a small business in Fairmont, Nebraska, founded by an implement dealer and attorney to produce and sell poultry, eggs, and butter. The business expanded rapidly and by the early 1920s operated several factories and sales houses in sixteen cities across the United States. At the same time, farmers in the Red River Valley region around Moorhead, Minnesota, who had long favored raising wheat and potato crops, found that depleted soils forced them to consider livestock as a viable option. The Fairmont Creamery Company capitalized on this shift and in 1923, construction began on a new creamery and produce plant in Moorhead, which opened in May 1924. It was the largest creamery and produce plant in the Upper Midwest.
The building was located on the outskirts of Moorhead’s business district and just across the street from a former Great Northern Railroad railyard. The main building is three stories tall with a basement footprint of 123 by 124 feet. Attached to the east is a rectangular, single-story structure measuring 69 by 124 feet that housed the heating plant and provided storage. The buildings are made of concrete and clad in brick, with decorated stone inlays emphasizing the uppermost portions of the facades. As with many industrial buildngs of the time, the main facade on the south is organized symmetrically. A four-story tower anchors the building at its center bay and end pavilions are capped by gabled elements; rectilinear bays with symmetrical window groupings are between the tower and end bays.
Fairmont Foods sold the plant to Cass-Clay Creamery in October 1980, as Fairmont divested itself of creamery operations to concentrate on its convenience stores. Cass-Clay operated for a year before closing in 1981. Although the facade remains intact, the interior has been rehabilitated for the new use as a unit of the Eventide Senior Living Communities.
Eggleston, Rod, “Fairmont Creamery,” Clay County, Minnesota. National Register of Historic Places Inventory–Nomination Form, 1982. National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, DC.
Jeffries Spencer, Janet. “‘To Make a Good Product Better’: The Fairmont Creamery Company, 1884-1920.” Nebraska History65 (1984): 387-394.
Murray, Stanley Norman. The Valley Comes of Age, 1812–1920. Fargo: North Dakota Institute for Regional Studies, 1967.
If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.
SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.