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Wisconsin National Register of Historic Places

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Parkin Ice Cream Company (T. Brown photo, 2005)

Parkin Ice Cream Company (T. Brown photo, 2005)

Parkin Ice Cream Company, interior (T. Brown photo, 2005)

Parkin Ice Cream Company
108 W 9th Street, Marshfield, Wood County
Dates of construction: 1941, 1945
Builder: Thomsen-Abbott, Engineers & Contractors

The Parkin Ice Cream Company is associated with a prominent Marshfield family that was intimately involved in the state and nationwide movement to create a compact for the marketing and pricing of dairy products. The Parkin family, first under Wilbur L. Parkin and later under his son John Parkin, was involved in expanding and modernizing the dairy industry in Wisconsin, introducing bulk coolers to replace milk cans. John Parkin led the movement to enlist the central Wisconsin dairy industry in the American Dairy Association (ADA) set-aside program for marketing dairy products, a predecessor to the modern day "Got Milk?" promotional campaign.

The building itself was constructed in 1941 to replace an earlier wood-frame building that was destroyed in a fire. At the time of its construction the new plant was hailed as the most modern of its type in Wisconsin. A feature story in the Ice Cream Review described it as a "dream plant" and "showplace" for the average size ice cream maker. Built of brick and concrete, the interior featured buff and tan colored salt-glazed tile walls, lactic acid-resistant red tile floors, and extensive use of glass block windows. The present building is the last and only remaining relatively-intact dairy processing plant in the Marshfield area from the dairy expansion era of the 1940s and 50s.

After the business closed in 1966 the building underwent several changes of use. In 2005 the building was restored, utilizing federal historic tax credit incentives, and converted to its current use as a restaurant and brewpub. A small two-story accessible entry addition was added at the west end of the original structure as part of the 2005 rehabilitation. The building is open during normal business hours.

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