Memories Of The Creamery
Average Rating: ( 0 votes)
Donald Cline sends word that the former Creamery Restaurant and Inn in Downsville, Wisconsin is now on the market. Some PrairieMod readers may have experienced the warm hospitality as they dined or spent a comfortable night there—perhaps both. Guests entering The Creamery were instantly at ease. To this day, travelers in the Midwest will hear reminiscing of not only the business but also the building itself. Read more about the Creamery after the jump... Donald...
Donald Cline sends word that the former Creamery Restaurant and Inn in Downsville, Wisconsin is now on the market. Some PrairieMod readers may have experienced the warm hospitality as they dined or spent a comfortable night there—perhaps both. Guests entering The Creamery were instantly at ease. To this day, travelers in the Midwest will hear reminiscing of not only the business but also the building itself. Read more about the Creamery after the jump...
Donald asked David Thomas, one of the original owners of the Creamery in Downsville, Wisconsin, to offer his reminiscences of the Creamery:
"Operated as a highly successful inn for over 30 years, this beautifully renovated turn-of-the-century cooperative creamery building attracted guests from across West Central Wisconsin, the Twin Cities, Milwaukee and Chicago and the greater Midwest region in general. Guests dining at The Creamery visited from 100 miles or more away on a regular basis. These guests valued its tranquil charm and splendid location overlooking the Red Cedar River valley.
My father, Chicago architect and professor, Paul Thomas, became quickly intrigued upon hearing of the availability of the old Downsville Cooperative Creamery building when it was listed for sale in 1978. After consulting with all family members, the property was purchased that summer with a somewhat vague plan of opening a restaurant within the existing structure sometime in the future. Paul seemed to both recognize and accept the challenge of the potential project.
My dad’s history in Chicago was strong and deep. He studied briefly under Mies van der Rohe and was a student of Alfred Caldwell, who he ultimately succeeded as Dean of City and Regional Planning at the Illinois Institute of Technology. He was greatly influenced by both Mies and Frank Lloyd Wright. Dad taught both city planning and architecture for nearly 50 years, taking on numerous architectural projects, but his true love and strength was working with students.
We started the cleanup of the site and construction on the building in the spring of 1984, with two of my brothers, my sister and myself working alongside a local crew of eight people. Dad’s approach to breathing new life into the old creamery building was to retain as much of the original structure and layout as possible and when intervention was necessary, such as when the guest rooms were added, these changes were made with subtlety and with gentle finesse. The overall result included beautifully-proportioned spaces and grand vistas for both guests and employees; warm, rich surroundings with lavish use of cherry and teak and a natural comfort throughout. The finished conversion, which cost around $1.2 million and took some 16 months to complete, was opened to the pubic in September 1985 and became an instant commercial success for the four siblings who worked together to run the business.
The Thomas family interest in the business ended in 2007. In part to preserve my dad’s superb work and the legacy of the building, one of my brothers and I acquired the property in 2011 when the operators at the time ceased trading."
The Creamery building is now back on the market for $495,000. A website has been created that provides a great deal of information about The Creamery Inn as well as market profile data from the Economic Development Department in Dunn County. For anyone who wishes to have a look please refer to www.creameryinn.com.
All photos via Donald Cline