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Ashley Creamery (Ashley Flour Mill)
The community of Ashley struggled in anticipation of the Soo Line railroad’s arrival, and a number of early speculative businesses soon failed. The prominent four-story Ashley Creamery was built as a flour mill by the Farmers’ Cooperative Milling Company, but the substantial investment in this tall structure collapsed financially and the building was never used for its intended function. Butter-making equipment was installed in 1930, and the building was operating successfully as a creamery by 1939, which was no small feat for an agricultural enterprise during the Dust Bowl years. The creamery also handled chickens and eggs, as well as wholesale distribution of soft drinks and “hard” drinks (beer). The creamery continued until after World War II. The building is distinctive based on its scale, height, and the industrial nature of its concrete-frame construction with brick masonry infill and large steel window sash. The building’s physical durability and local importance have made it a target for several development efforts, including as a mixed-use commercial mall, but currently it is vacant.
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