Creamery Complex

Press Enter to show all options, press Tab go to next option
Location:  1300 - 1360 E. 8th Street
Survey Number: HPS-151 & 152
Year Built: 1892
Architectural Style: Mission Revival 

The Borden Milk Company Creamery & Ice Factory Complex on Old 8th Street (Mesa-Tempe Road / Bankhead Highway) is significant as one of the largest employers in Tempe for many years; for its association with F. A. Hough, a pioneer ice maker; and as an excellent example of the Mission Revival style popular in early 20th century.

The Creamery Complex on "Old Eighth Street" in northeast Tempe was built in 1892 as F. A. Hough's ice plant, but has been used mostly for processing dairy products. In its first ten years, it served as the Tempe Creamery and the Tempe-Mesa Produce Company. In December 1907, the dairy operation was acquired as a second location by the Pacific Creamery Company, a major California enterprise. The company promoted the fact that it invested in what is conceded to be one of the best equipped plants on the Pacific coast. Employing about fifty people made it one of Tempe's largest employers. Pacific Creamery produced condensed milk, butter, cheese "and ice, having a capacity for ice manufacture of 15 tons per day and shipped its "product(s) throughout Arizona, New Mexico and Old Mexico. Ownership again changed in 1927 when the creamery was acquired by the Borden Milk Company who expanded and modernized the complex. Façades were updated to reflect the emerging popularity of Spanish Revival architecture. Borden continued operations for the next 26 years until it shut down in 1953. Through much of Tempe's history, the creamery was one of the largest employers in town.

The Creamery Complex started when F. A. Hough constructed his ice plant in 1892, ending the need to transport ice daily by wagon or train from Mesa for delivery to homes and businesses. Within its first decade Hough's plant was also capitalizing on local agriculture. It had become home to the Tempe Creamery and then the Tempe-Mesa Produce Company. It was known as the Pacific Creamery from 1907 to 1924, and was under the management of Justin B. Cook for most of that period (1907-1919). The creamery was purchased by Borden Milk Company in 1927, and Borden operated the plant until 1953.

The current appearance of the Creamery Complex dates to 1927, when the original structure was remodeled and new buildings were added, doubled the size of the complex of nine buildings. At that time, the distinctive curvilinear parapet walls were added to the buildings, making it a perfect example of the Mission Revival style of architecture that was popular in early 20th century. The building shows a variety of construction techniques using brick, reinforced concrete, concrete block, frame, and metal. The Creamery Complex, includes the Tempe Creamery Office at 1350 E. 8th Street which was built in 1915 in the Commercial Box style which provides a good example of the use of Prism block in commercial construction. This building was added to the Creamery Complex as a response to the increased spatial needs of the business.

National Register Nomination, 1984

Tempe History Member Blog - Ice plant of past evolves with changes of ownership