The Fairmont Creamery

39
City/Town: Lawton
Location Class: IndustrialCommercial
Year Built: 1929
Year Abandoned: 1970's
Status: Restored
Photojournalist: Cody CooperJustin Tyler Moore

It is still one of the most captivating buildings in Lawton, a multistory fortress of red brick occupying a solid city block, its signature narrow smokestack rising above almost everything else in the downtown industrial zone.

But if it’s still imposing enough to demand attention, in its heyday the Fairmont Creamery at 411 SE Larrance Avenue was not only recognizable, it was a center of attention, an absolute beehive that employed well over 100 people who turned the milk of thousands of dairy cows into ice cream, cottage cheese and other products consumed by generations of Lawtonians.

The creamery that stands today was built in 1929, with expansions added in 1979 and 1985, but the Fairmont Co. actually came to the still budding town of Lawton in 1905, according to Travis Warner, who took over care of the creamery four years ago with his brother, Derek Pever.

“Talking to old-timers and to my father, in 1905 it was originally right by the railroad tracks and people would come in and set up next to it to sell fruits and vegetables from carts, and it was like a market here every weekend,” Warner said.

Though most of the equipment that made the creamery what it was has now been removed, standing inside the 70,000-square-foot building, one can still get a sense of its rich history.

“At that time, it was actually the first state-of-the-art factory in Lawton,” Warner said, pointing out stout concrete columns rising from the building’s foundation to support the tremendous weight of the second-story concrete floor, which is 28 inches thick in places.

Warner has never seen accountings of how much milk flowed through the creamery or of how much ice cream or other dairy products shipped out on a day-to-day basis. He points out though, where a 10,000-gallon tank sat on the first floor for storing milk. On the second floor were another 10,000-gallon milk storage tank and two more that held 5,000 gallons each.

Nearby, the original freight elevator still stands in its shaft.

“When we were doing the (interior) demolition we got it working and used it,” he said.

In an area on the second floor where creamery employees once gathered before work, the doors of old wooden lockers stand open, as if left that way for a final inspection.

Down below, in the basement, Warner points to a dark space beneath some stairs where the building’s original blueprints were found.

“My dad was really excited about finding them,” he said.

There were offices in the basement, and a massive boiler that produced steam used by the factory.

On this recent day in mid-August, it was nothing if not hot inside the cavernous building, but when the Fairmont was a busy business concern, it was kept very cold inside.

“There were just miles and miles and miles of piping that went through here to keep it chilled.” Warner said. He points out a hole in an interior wall where a conveyor once swept ice cream being made through a “chill room” kept beyond chilly and, indeed, well below freezing.

“There was a conveyor that went through and by the time the ice cream passed through in 48 feet it was frozen solid,” he said.

The Fairmont Co. pulled out of Lawton in the 1970s. The creamery was then operated for a time by Farm Fresh, but has stood vacant for the past several years. Warner’s father, Joe Warner, bought it in 1995 and it remains under ownership of Fairmont Rentals, which he established.

 

Lawton Constitution, The (OK) – Sunday, August 31, 2008

Author: STEVE METZER ; STAFF WRITER

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[…] (Abandoned) in Lawton, OK […]

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Arlie D. Wood
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Arlie D. Wood

I wish someone could find one of the special quart glass milk bottles with the choke neck and spoon for pouring the risen cream from the pasteurized milk. This preceded homogenization. It was a great convenience.

Rob Young
Guest
Rob Young

I drove buy there last year and spoke to the owner. The building in no longer abandoned. The 2nd story has been converted into a house and repairs are being made to the 1st floor. The owner said that when he was done with the construction he wanted to rent out shops on the bottom floor. The people in Lawton are glad that he is renovating it and I would like to see an update on this story..

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[…] from https://abandonedok.com/the-fairmont-creamery/ 0 comments »  Upcoming […]

txhooligan
Guest
txhooligan

Some photo's are not of the Creamery…….. On a side note. It is being rebuilt. There is alot of construction going on right now.

Steve K
Guest
Steve K

Drove by this place in the morning. The building would make a great micro-brewery. Plenty of history, large building, just need the cash to restore and install the equipment.

anonymous
Guest
anonymous

when i was stationed down at Fort Sill, i came across this place on a cab ride back from the mall to base. it was night time, so i couldn't really see much, but it was huge. asked the cabbie about the bldg/area/history. he didn't really know much about it, but he did tell me about some wannabe gangs that were down here, and how women shouldn't be down there alone, especially at night. he said lot of assaults happened down there (rapes), and junkies, dealers, crazy ppl, homeless (squatters). i knew to stay away, but i went back to… Read more »

Robert
Guest
Robert

Outstanding. My Dad worked at Fairmont, he started inside, and ended up driving a route truck. He worked there from about 1960 to 1973. Fairmont was the main topic of conversation everynight at the dinner table. I still have one of the old steel milk crates they used. I would love to tour thru the place.

Adrian Keafer
Guest
Adrian Keafer

I have a milk can from a Fairmont Creamery. It has the message on it" When empty to return to a Mrs. T C Wiggins / Shelocta, Pa. – Pittsburgh, Pa Is this the same company? I could send a photo. It has the Company initials formed into a kind of brand, located at the top of the can. I think the tag is brass. The can itself is in excellent condition.

gayle rutherford
Guest
gayle rutherford

wonder how i can find an old fairmont train car. sure would look great setting out front
gayle

Braughter
Guest
Braughter

I bet it would! I SEE U FOUND THE SITE. 🙂

Jo Davis
Guest

On the Highway going to Faxon is an abandoned town site for Holiday, Ok. The last time we went by there it still had part of one building. My mother was born there in s dugout in 1914. Faxon is almost abandoned. I went to the Fairmont Creamery for a field trip in 1949. Which was also about the same time creameries switched from glass bottles to wax cartons. I still remember the smell and the guys wading around in hip booths slushing through yucky grey water. I didn't drink another glass of milk for 20 years.

Holly
Guest
Holly

I absolutely love places like this!! I grew up in Lawton, and love learning about it's history. I didn't appreciate it when I was younger, but I sure do now that I have a family. I was down in that part of town not too long ago and saw the building there; I was really intrigued about finding out more. Your site is awesome; thank you so much for helping us remember the forgotten.

Jenny
Guest
Jenny

How do we go about getting permission to go visit this place? I want to go stroll around and take some photos but I want to make sure that I get some approval to visit the creamery.

Nik
Guest
Nik

The day I went, there were already a couple of people there taking pictures, but they soon left after my arrival. As for permission, I'm sure its fine t just look around the property, but if you want to get inside, not sure who'd you have to talk to.

Beth
Guest
Beth

My parents own the Fairmont now, they don't allow visitors anymore because theres too much construction going on iside. Once it has been restored they will allow guests.

kerry
Guest
kerry

what are the plans for the creamery?
will it be demolished, renovated, left as-is?

SKay
Guest
SKay

Just stumbled on this site and thankful I did! My Father was Chief Plant Engineer for 30 years at this plant. It is heartbreaking to see the building in it’s present condition. So much history. Thanks for stroll thru your site!

AbandonedOK Team
Guest
AbandonedOK Team

Thanks for swinging by and commenting SKay! It’s great to hear stories from family or workers of any of our places. It really gives meaning to the place. The place is forgotten by so many people, but you and your father remember the creamery! Its great to put real history with these, told by the people that lived it! Thanks for the comment!

Nikole S
Guest
Nikole S

That's awesome background information! There is a part of that looked burnt, did you find anything about that?

AbandonedOK Team
Guest
AbandonedOK Team

usually on these old abandoned buildings, records are scarce once it is vacant, only because there is no one to report the news… so I didn’t find anything about a fire, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen…

roger
Guest
roger

My father worked at Fairmonts from 1951 to 1962. I was in the building last Friday. I can seethat if you did not know better you would have the perception it was burned especially on the 2nd floor. It is just the remants of the old 2 inch thick cork wood that was used in the old days as insulation surrounding the freezer. Over the years of getting wet and exposure to the elements it darkened. However there were 2 minor fires one occurred in the second floor in the freezer on the 2nd floor. This was mostly confined to… Read more »

roger
Guest
roger

2nd part of father worked for fairmonts The new addition replaced a large chicken coop that was used to raise hens for egg production and sale of eggs and fryers. The south side of the 2nd floor was where my dad worked this was the homization and pasturation department as well as condensed milk. This had several 2000 gallon tanks for milk processing. Between the homization-pasturation was a 2000 gallon concrete tank for buttermilk culture. The 1st floor was milk recieving and glass bottle washing, sterilizaton and filling as well as a certification and testing lab. Basement was 2000 gallon… Read more »

roger
Guest
roger

3rd part of father worked for fairmonts
As a side all of the milk cans that are so familiar to the country image of a dairy farm were each coded with the dairy name, delivery person, date of delivery etc very detailed to ensure where rejected milk came from and the dairy to contact to advise of the defect. My family operated 2 dairies near Lawton besides my dad working in Fairmont. Aslo 2 artisian wells are on the property

chuck webber
Guest
chuck webber

Roger, If you haven't given your info. to Gayle Rutherford, please give me a call. The Rutherfords want to have an area dedicated to the workers and family members of the Fairmont Creamery. You can reach me at 580-678-1769. Thanks, Chuck

Fiend
Guest
Fiend

Awesome! I love places like this!

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