Real Railroad History > FAIRMONT CREAMERY COMPANY

Butter me up with a set of 3 collectible O scale cars.

Fairmont Creamery Co. insignia on Rich Products building in Buffalo, NY.

Fairmont Creamery Co. insignia

Founded in Fairmont, Nebraska by Wallace Wheeler and Joseph Rushton, Fairmont Creamery was a pioneer in milk can pickup and was one of the first creameries to provide farmers with their own hand-operated cream separators.

Originally named Fairmont Foods, the name was changed to Fairmont Creamery in 1884. The company’s first product was butter. By the 1890s, Fairmont Creamery was operating plants in Crete, Tobias, Friend, DeWitt, Fairbury, Geneva, Milford, and Hebron, Nebraska, and shipping extensively by iced refrigerated rail cars (reefers).

Due to its continued growth, the company moved its headquarters to Omaha in 1907. Expansion and diversification into cheese, poultry products, and frozen foods led to incorporation as the Fairmont Creamery Company in 1929. Plants in Nebraska, Oklahoma and Minnesota were supplemented with new operations in Detroit, Cleveland, and Buffalo.

Re-branded in the post-war era as Fairmont Foods, in 1948, the company became a Fortune 500 company and gained a seat on the New York Stock Exchange in 1959.

Throughout its history, Fairmont Creamery Company was known in the dairy industry for its quality control and progressive methods of food production and distribution. Those operating principles brought even greater growth to Fairmont Foods through broader diversification into food products like chicken, pies, potato chips, soda, dips, and frozen pizza.

By 1975, its U-TOTEM convenience store subsidiary had become more profitable than the food products divisions, so the company’s headquarters were moved to Houston, Texas. In 1980, Fairmont Foods merged with a subsidiary of American Financial Corporation of Cincinnati, Ohio, and changed its name to Utotem, Inc.

Between 1980 and 1984, all of the Fairmont Foods properties and subsidiaries were either sold or closed, marking the end of a great American name - Fairmont Creamery. However, many of the old creamery buildings still stand as monuments to this once great company, including those in Buffalo (former Rich Products - Arctic Cold Storage building), Cleveland, and Detroit.

Buffalo Creek Graphics is pleased to offer this distinctive series of three Fairmont Creamery Company refrigerator cars in the Merchants Despatch Transportation Co. ERDX paint scheme - a tribute to the glory years of the company’s growth between 1929 and 1948. The three cars are identified by the Return To designation of the railroad that served each location: the Buffalo Creek Railroad Company, the Nickel Plate Road, and the Grand Trunk Western.

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