Fairmont Creamery – Guthrie

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Year Built: 1930 | Year Abandoned: 2019
Status: Under Renovation
Photojournalist: Michael SchwarzTim GreenEric Price

Fairmont Creamery Co.

Completed Fairmont Creamery ca. 1930 Provided by Bryan, Guthrie

Long thought to just be the 89er’ Bowling Alley, this building has far more history. Recent renovations on the building involved stripping the paint off the outside of the building, revealing a Fairmont Creamery Co. sign. The Fairmont Creamery in Lawton was the only popularly known location in Oklahoma so this find was exciting and surprising. Architect F.V. Thomas headed the project of erecting the nationally known creamery. Construction started in late 1929 on the $100,000, three-story building and done rapidly in order to be open and serving products to the growing town of Guthrie by the next year. In addition to the main building was a 12,000-foot, two-story frame building added on to the facility as a poultry house. The grand opening of the new plant was April 26, 1930, with the community of Guthrie being invited out to tour the facility. Guests got to see the giant butter churns, the state-of-the-art ice cream equipment and how milk was pasteurized and bottled.

Fairmont Creamery in Guthrie, OK

Eighty-three employees opened the plant making products including milk, cream, cottage cheese, butter, ice cream, eggs, and frozen fresh strawberries. The frozen strawberries made quite the journey to be put on shelves throughout Guthrie. They started out being picked in fields where they had grown to peak ripeness and then meticulously washed and packed into containers. From there they were assembling plants where they were laid out and coated in sugar. The journey continues with them being frozen and shipped in refrigerated cars to Fairmont plants such as Guthrie and Lawton. Once arriving the produce is thawed and placed in store ready containers and ready for purchase. Another product was evaporated buttermilk ideally used by the local farmers for hogs and poultry being raised. In addition to selling poultry, the Guthrie plant shipped out turkeys for Thanksgiving each year. Just two years after opening they shipped 16,128 turkeys all over the east coast including to Washington D.C. and Albany New York.

A corner in the milk and ice cream department, Fairmont Creamery Co., Guthrie. Provided by Bryan, Guthrie

Back then prices for these products were considerably less than the cost of them today. The cream was 16 cents, hens 9 cents, roosters 4 cents, and eggs 12 cents. Poultry was bought from local farmers and raised on a mixture of in-house made dried buttermilk and bran for twelve days. If the hen was not fat enough after twelve days they were thrown out, others went through to pass final inspection and shipped across the nation. Eggs were candled at the facility making them viable for six to eight months. Around 1948 it started being referred to as The Fairmont Foods Co., still one of the most prominent and economically uplifting industries in Guthrie. In 1957 after almost three decades of success the company geared for bigger operations. New pasteurizing equipment was brought in so that milk production and output would increase. Allowing for more milk to leave the plant quicker resulting in a higher return.

89er’ Bowling Alley

For unknown reasons though the well-known Guthrie facility stopped appearing in local newspapers in 1964. By the 1970s people had known it as KC Enterprises who made wrought iron furniture according to Joe Sigl. But almost as if Fairmont Creamery had predicted the building’s fate way back in 1931 when they created four bowling teams called the Creamtops, Better Butter, Poultry & Eggs, and Ice Cream the facility then became the 89er’ Bowl. The 89er’ Bowling Alley brought entertainment to the Guthrie area until around 2019 when it closed. The building sat abandoned for a few years before being purchased and is now undergoing renovations.

Gallery Below




Bibliography
Bryan, Guthrie. [Photograph 2012.201.B0276B.0210], photograph, Date Unknown; (https://gateway.okhistory.org/ark:/67531/metadc438489/: accessed May 12, 2021), The Gateway to Oklahoma History, https://gateway.okhistory.org; crediting Oklahoma Historical Society.

Armantrout, Guthrie. [Photograph 2012.201.B0276B.0214], photograph, Date Unknown; (https://gateway.okhistory.org/ark:/67531/metadc435554/m1/1/?q=fairmont%20creamery: accessed May 12, 2021), The Gateway to Oklahoma History, https://gateway.okhistory.org; crediting Oklahoma Historical Society.

“11 Aug 1932, 7 – Oklahoma Weekly Leader at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/591920099/?terms=%22fairmont%20creamery%22&match=1.

“12 Sep 1929, 1 – Oklahoma State Register at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/657418479/?terms=fairmont%20creamery&match=1.

“17 Apr 1960, 24 – The Guthrie Daily Leader at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/591890601/?terms=fairmont&match=1.

“17 Nov 1932, 1 – Oklahoma State Register at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/657418754/?terms=%22fairmont%20creamery%22&match=1.

“17 Sep 1931, 1 – Oklahoma State Register at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/657419749/?terms=%22fairmont%20creamery%22&match=1.

“19 Apr 1956, 17 – Guthrie Register-News and Oklahoma Weekly Leader at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/593322912/?terms=fairmont&match=1.

“19 Sep 1929, 1 – Oklahoma Weekly Leader at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/591695705/?terms=fairmont%20creamery&match=1.

“2 Aug 1945, 5 – The Logan County News at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/709546536/?terms=%22fairmont%20creamery%22&match=1.

“2 Jul 1936, 4 – Oklahoma State Register at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/657422177/?terms=%22fairmont%20creamery%22&match=1.

“23 Jun 1957, 7 – The Guthrie Daily Leader at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/590878316/?terms=fairmont&match=1.

“23 Jun 1957, 7 – The Guthrie Daily Leader at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/590878316/?terms=fairmont&match=1.

“24 Apr 1930, 10 – Oklahoma State Register at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/657419771/?terms=fairmont%20creamery&match=1.

“24 Apr 1930, 12 – Oklahoma State Register at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/657419802/?terms=fairmont%20creamery&match=1.

“24 Apr 1930, 9 – Oklahoma State Register at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/657419757/?terms=fairmont%20creamery&match=1.

“26 Oct 1933, 1 – Oklahoma State Register at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/657417753/?terms=%22fairmont%20creamery%22&match=1.

“7 Nov 1957, 12 – The Guthrie Daily Leader at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/591540573/?terms=%22fairmont%20creamery%22&match=1.

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