History

The Historic Fairmont Creamery, Rapid City, South Dakota in the 1930's
The Historic Fairmont Creamery, Rapid City, South Dakota in the 1930’s

The Henry Carlson Company originally constructed the Historic Fairmont Creamery in 1929 utilizing the designs of F.V. Thomas (Kerst, 2007).  Additions to the original construction were made in 1940 and again in 1962.

It was part of the Fairmont Foods Company founded by Wallace Wheeler and Joseph H. Rushton.  At that time, the building manufactured butter, ice cream and other dairy products.  To keep the perishable dairy products fresh the Creamery employed the latest technology in cold storage plants; this involved the use of lining the walls with cork, some of which can still be seen around the building (Swisher 2012).

Manufacturing and distributing dairy products was the Creamery’s primary purpose until 1971 (Kerst, 2007).  In the 1970s, Donald and Evelyn Peterson “renovated” the Fairmont Creamery transforming it into a commercial space that would soon house a diverse set of businesses including a restaurant.

Over the years, walls were covered with paneling, exterior windows were covered, most likely for energy efficiency during a period of high-energy prices, drop ceilings were installed, and floor coverings ranging from vinyl to carpeting were installed.

Historical Facts from:

Kerst, A. M., Oleson-Kessloff, J., & Roseland, P. D. (2007). Images of America: Rapid City Historic Downtown Architecture. Charleston: Arcadia Publishing.

Swisher, K. (2012, August 16). Supplying South Dakota’s Cream. Retrieved from Black Hills Pioneer: http://www.bhpioneer.com/opinion/article_069fd6ac-d285-11e1-89dc-001a4bcf887a.html

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