The Fairmont Creamery Company, founded in 1884, was one of four national dairies and headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska with branches stretching from the Dakotas to Buffalo.
The Cleveland Fairmont Creamery opened in 1930 to celebrate the company’s fortieth anniversary. The 100,000 square foot structure was built into a hillside overlooking downtown, with two floors of manufacturing and space for 75 delivery trucks. The design provided access for railcars from the west to deliver directly into the lower floor receiving room, with trucks for local distribution able to drive in on upper floors.
Eggs, ice cream and butter were processed and distributed at the Cleveland facility. Many local residents have shared memories of buying ice cream cones from the retail window, or of a relative who once worked at the Creamery. The building, virtually abandoned since the 1980s, was designated a Cleveland Landmark in 2013 and is on the National Historic Registry.
As a revitalization and preservation effort, the Creamery retains and celebrates much of this history. Walk-in coolers have been transformed into bedrooms and gym locker rooms. The glazed yellow brick interior walls, originally used for food safety, remain throughout the building. The enormous concrete columns and beams, designed to carry the weight of millions of gallons of milk, are highlighted in every space. All windows, dock doors and signage have been rebuilt according to their 1930’s design.
Our hope is that when a visitor walks through the Creamery today, they feel both a sense of Cleveland’s industrial past, and Cleveland’s incredible potential as it re-purposes and re-imagines itself.