The History of Cream City | Cookeville, Tennessee

If you’re visiting or moving to Cookeville, Tennessee, you’ve probably heard about Cream City. It’s a popular destination for locals and visitors alike — but what is it exactly? Today we’ll explore the history of this fascinating part of Cookeville. 

Since opening its doors over 132 years ago, Cream City has become an iconic local landmark in Cookeville, Tennessee. Not only has the shop maintained its vintage retro charm since first being opened; it's also become a beloved go-to spot for visitors and locals alike who crave delicious ice cream treats. From traditional scoops to signature sundaes and shakes, it's no surprise that Cream City remains one of the most popular spots for those looking for a sweet treat! Now let's take a look at what makes this magical place such an amazing part of Cookeville history.

Cream City has been a staple on Broad Street for more than 132 years. It originally opened in the late 1890’s as Consumer City. Consumer City was a dairy manufacturing company that delivered fresh milk and other products to the north by a covered wagon! Sadly, disaster struck when their building burned down in 1948; however, they persevered through it all by constructing another building and through its evolution the name changed to Cream City.

A 3-ton neon sign was built and placed on top of the new building at the time of its new construction. A testament to its beauty, American Road Magazine listed it among their Top 100 Neon Signs and other magazines around the country have featured photos of it in admiration. Inside this special destination is a time capsule - Cream City’s famous "Take some home today" sign still hangs proudly after all these years!

By the 1980’s, Cream City had become hugely popular. The substantial growth in business and popularity put Cream City on a prominent ice cream company’s radar. They saw Cream City as a major competitor and had the local business shut down. After this, the existing building housed many other businesses including a cafe, an accounting office, a T-shirt shop, and even living quarters. However, the 3-ton sign and its neon magnetism attracted people to mainly ice cream.

In 2011, the old ice cream shop in Cookeville’s downtown area made its grand return! Cream City opened its doors to the public once again as an ice cream shop. The downtown area has officially been titled the “Cream City Historic District” as displayed by the city of Cookeville on designated signage. Cream City is proud to serve handmade ice creams and locally roasted coffee to the neighbors and visitors in Cookeville, TN! They offer over 40 unique and delicious flavors of rich, creamy handmade ice cream, handmade waffle cones, and a full coffee menu. 

Cream City has a long and fascinating history. It is not only a place that has been around for over 130 years, but it also is a reminder of the city's past. Cookeville locals look forward to visiting this ice cream shop to enjoy some of the delicious flavors they serve, while tourists most often leave raving and wanting more. In many ways, this traditional ice cream business can be seen as an anchor during tough times. Next time you are in Cookeville, make sure to stop by the iconic Cream City– you won’t regret it! We wonder what your favorite ice cream flavor might be – let us know in the comments below!

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