Can you visualize sitting at a soda fountain sipping a frothy or fizzy concoction? Or waiting to see the doctor in the early 1900s? It's easy to imagine in the Fillmore County Museum, where Fillmore county citizens have donated over 14,000 items in an effort to preserve their heritage.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this 1884, one-story brick commercial building which houses the main museum was the general office of the nationally known Fairmont Creamery Company. Founded by Wallace Wheeler and Joseph Rushton, the company became well known in the dairy industry for its quality control and progressive methods of food production and distribution. This building was the organizations office and the creamery was 1/2 miles East of Fairmont.
The creamery's first product was butter, and by 1881, the 100 employees made 7,000 pounds of butter daily. In the 1890s, the company operated plants in Crete, Tobias, Friend, DeWitt, Fairbury, Geneva, Milford, and Hebron. The general offices of the company moved from Fairmont to Omaha in 1907. In the 20th century, the company diversified, processing dairy products, eggs, poultry, vegetables, and snack foods becoming known as Fairmont Foods Company. By 1959, Fairmont Foods was among the country's 500 largest corporations. The company moved its headquarters to Houston in 1974, and in 1980 it became a wholly-owned subsidiary of American Financial Corporation, and later changed its name to Utotem, Inc.
When the creamery moved to Omaha in 1907, Dr. S.F. Ashby purchased the building and converted it to a doctor's office and small hospital. His nephew, and later his son occupied the building. The Ashby family's plan, when they donated the building to the Fillmore County Historical Society, was for it to become a museum.
- The Fairmont Creamery Building Museum contains the doctors' waiting room with much of its furnishings as the doctors left them. Their office and pharmacy are also mostly unchanged with few additions.
- Also located in this building is a reading room with much history of all parts of the county and genealogy material.
- Another room is devoted to World War II with a special emphasis on the Fairmont army Air Field. Of special interest are scrapbooks of soldiers who trained on this air filed.
- In addition are some Civil War, Spanish-American War and Korean Conflict artifacts.
- Other rooms in the building display kitchen and pantry artifacts, quilts, wedding dresses, clothing and other handwork, musical instruments and a postcard collection of scenes from towns in the county.
As part of the Museum, the McClellan Rexall Drug Store is home to a soda fountain from Exeter. Special booths include a hat shop, Anderson's Optometry Office, and the drug store itself.
- A rural school appears in one corner with items from early and mid-1900 schools.
- A collection of2500 pitchers, donated by Esther Janing, fill the shelves in one area.
- The line-o-type from the Exeter printing office and a display of equipment from various places show progress in printed communication.
- A variety of tools and machines, mostly from the late 1800s to mid 1900s, are located in one corner.
- The apartment in the back of the drug store, consisting of two rooms, has been redecorated and furnished with the early 1900s wedding furniture of Bert and Hannah Aldrich.
Hours: Hours: Wednesday, 2:00 to 4:00 pm, or by Appointment
Address: 6th Avenue and F Street
Box 333, Fairmont, NE 68354
Phone: 402-268-3607, or 268
Come visit us in Fairmont, Nebraska