Duluth’s Bridgeman-Russell Creamery was built atop the site of the Zenith City’s 1880s silver mine. (Image: Zenith City)

The Bridgeman-Russell Company has Duluth as its headquarters and is a produce and dairy products enterprise involving the handling, distribution and marketing of products from the entire northwestern territory tributary to Duluth. The company has the distinction of being the largest manufacturers of butter in the northwest.

The senior member of the company, Henry Bridgeman, engaged in a modest business in Duluth October 1, 1888, under the style of Bridgeman & McGibbon. About one year later Mr. McGibbon was succeeded by Mr. Robert A. Peers, the firm name being changed to Bridgeman & Peers.

On April 1, 1892, Mr. Peers was succeeded by Mr. N. F. Russell, the firm name being changed to Bridgeman & Russell. This partnership was continued until April 1, 1903, when the company was incorporated under the name of Bridgeman-Russell Company, with a capitalization of $100,- 000. The capitalization in 1907 was increased to $250,000, and in 1920 to $1,000,000.

The company is large manufacturers of butter and ice cream, condensers of milk, and dealers and distributors of butter, eggs, cheese, poultry, ice cream, milk and cream. They operate eight large creameries in Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Wisconsin and Michigan, and altogether have about six hundred employes at the different plants. Their business involves the services of several hundred agents and buyers of produce in the above states. They sell and distribute butter and eggs from coast to coast, shipping large quantities of such supplies as far as New England. They do a large business in Duluth, including a complete milk distribution service with daily delivery of pasteurized bottled milk and cream. In 1917 the company completed their new building at 1110- 1122 West Michigan street, conceded by experts to be the finest dairy product plant in the United States. This building is seven stories high, nearly one block wide and approximately one-half block deep. This building is equipped with the most modern and up-to-date equipment obtainable from an efficiency and sanitary standpoint in the handling of dairy products.

The official personnel of the Bridgerrman-Russell Company today is: Henry Bridgeman, president; N. F. Russell, vice president; Mark Baldwin, vice president; B. M. Ruse, treasurer and general manager; and H. O. Ahl, secretary.


  • Van Brunt, Walter, ed. Duluth and St. Louis County, Minnesota Vols. 1 – 3. The American Historical Society. Chicago: 1922.
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