The Fairmont Creamery Company Building: Moorhead

Moorhead Historic Preservation Walking Tour

The Fairmont Creamery Company Building: Moorhead

Moorhead, Minnesota 56560, United States

Created By: North Dakota State University

Point of Interest Details

"Confidence in the future development of the Country and not the immediate requirements promoted the building of the Moorhead plant at its present site."—J.H. Deems, first Plant Superintendent of the Moorhead Fairmont Creamery, Fairmont’s Magazine, October, 1928

The Fairmont Creamery Company building in Moorhead was the result of humble beginnings in Fairmont, Nebraska which incorporated as a business on March 29, 1884, by local implement dealer Wallace Wheeler and attorney Joseph H. Rushton. From 1884 until May 1924, when the Fairmont Creamery Company building was completed and opened in Moorhead, the dairy enterprise had undergone tremendous growth becoming one of the largest dairy distributors in the nation. In fact, Fairmont Creamery would be “one of four national dairies” eventually to be headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska by 1907. According to historian Janet Jeffries Spencer, Fairmont’s success was due in part to the “complete line of dairy products offered” as they “sold eggs, poultry, fresh and frozen fruits, vegetables, and ice.”

The Moorhead Fairmont Creamery Company building, located at 801 2nd Avenue North, was “selected for its proximity to the railroad” and is near the city’s central business district. Officers of the Fairmont Creamery Company had noticed the potential of the Red River Valley for many years and needed a new plant in the area to support their growing outlets on the northern Great Plains.

Thus, construction began on the “largest creamery and produce plant” in the area. According to historian Rod Eggleston, who worked on registering the creamery on the National Historic Registry in 1982, the “development included efforts by the Company to establish a market for cream products and poultry products which lead to the development of experimental farms. These were model farms promoting the planting of such crops as corn, alfalfa and clover, and feeding turkeys with "Fairmont Flake Buttermilk" and then exporting these products to markets in the east. 12,325,000 "Cream Checks" were mailed to farmers between Fairmont's opening in 1924 through 1929.

"Let Your Cows and Fairmont Checks Pay Your Bills" was a company slogan and advertisements pointed out the advantages of a 10-gallon can of ice cream versus one acre of wheat.”

The Fairmont Creamery continued to be in business, promoting agriculture and local dairy markets, until its purchase by the Cass-Clay Creamery in 1980. The Creamery officially closed in 1981. Currently, the building has been turned into elderly rental housing.


  1. Janet Jeffries Spencer, To Make a Good Product Better: The Fairmont Creamery Company, 1884- 1984, Nebraska History 65 (1984): 387-394.
  2. "Fairmont Creamery Company. " Moorhead - The Gateway of the Great Northwest," Fairmont Magazine, (October, 1928.), p. 10.
  3. Eggleston, Rod. “Fairmont Creamery Company.” National Register of Historic Places Inventory. Minnesota Historical Society. (Accessed 10/23/16).
  4. Murray, Stanley Norman. "A History of Agriculture of the Red River Valley Of The North, 1812-1920." University of Wisconsin.
  5. Robinson, Edward V. D. Early Economic Conditions and the Development of Agriculture in Minnesota. (University of Minnesota, Studies in the Social Sciences 3.) Minneapolis, 1915.

Image Credits:

  1. “Special Notice.” The Record-Argus. (Greenville, PA), April 8, 1943.
  2. “Fairmont Creamery Company.” National Register of Historic Places Inventory. Minnesota Historical Society.
  3. (Accessed 10/23/16).

This point of interest is part of the tour: Moorhead Historic Preservation Walking Tour


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