Sunday, December 9, 2012

The History of Hostess in Cincinnati

I began to be intrigued with the history of the Hostess Brand in Cincinnati with the closing of the plant on 5th Street on November 12, 2012. This picture in particular inspired me to learn more:

Photo Credit - JGR Images
How did a former police station become part of a bakery? I started with my favorite maps.

1891 Sanborn Insurance Map - Source
The Police Patrol Station Number 4 was built between 1887 and 1891 on Fourth Street. To the east also stood a fire engine house at the corner of Fourth and Carl Alley. However, there is no sign of a bakery!
Photo taken in front of the police patrol station - Source
 In 1911, the Domestic Science Bakery bought land on Fifth Street and began construction on a two story building. The following article from the Cincinnati Enquirer on September 11, 1911, describes interesting items placed in the building's cornerstone:
Go Into Corner Stone
Of New Home of Domestic Science Baking Company - Elaborate Ceremony Planned.
Many curious things have been placed in the corner stones of buildings since the corner stone of an institution came into use, but it will remain for Cincinnati to add pies to the list.
No, gentle reader, this is not a joke. Six big pies, like those that mother used to make and which the small boy so delights to stow away in his stomach, will be placed in an airtight case and be set in the corner stone of the new building of the Domestic Science Baking Company on West Fourth (sic, should be Fifth) avenue, opposite the Fourth District Police Station. The pies go in to dedicate the new structure as a pie factory and as an evidence to future generations of the ability of the people of to-day to make good pies.
The new plant of the company will cost $100,000, and is being constructed of concrete and steel. Yesterday Simon Hubig, one of the officials of the company, made arrangements for an elaborate celebration of the sealing of the corner stone, which takes place next Tuesday afternoon. He has invited the members of the One O'Clock Club, an organization whose purpose is to salute by lifting the hat to every pie wagon that passes, to luncheon on that day at the Business Men's Club. They will be taken to the scene in pie wagons and wear pie pans as badges.
The six pies will be prepared for their long sojourn by being wrapped in paraffined paper, upon which will be written in indelible ink the history of the pie: the date of its birth and its burial. The six will then be sealed in a metal container, which will be airtight, and this goes in at the bottom of the corner stone receptacle. A history of the company, the building, a list of stockholders, a description of the dedication ceremony and a roster of the members of the One O'Clock Club, will be put in to keep the pies company, after which the concrete man will cover it up by making it a part of the Fourth (sic, Fifth) avenue wall.
The One O'Clock Club ... are duty bound to buy pie for each fellow member upon an increase in the family, or any kind of an anniversary, and are fined a round of pies when they fail to tip their hats to a wagon laden with the same.
Cincinnati Enquirer, September 20, 1911
Cincinnati Enquirer, April 3, 1912

Cincinnati Enquirer, April 18, 1912
By 1914, Simon Hubig sold the Domestic Science Baking Company to Schulze Baking Company of Chicago, which operated four bakeries in that city as well as Peoria, IL and Kansas City at the time of the purchase. The article from the Cincinnati Enquirer, February 3, 1914 states the Domestic Science Bakery made the well-known Tip-Top and Butternut breads.

Seen at Local 127 on Vine Street
Source - Digging Cincinnati History
Cincinnati Enquirer, March 19, 1917
1904-1930 Sanborn Insurance Map - Source
The Schulze Baking Company (misspelled on this map) can be seen on both 4th and 5th Street. The police station had not yet become part of the business.
Control of the Schulze Baking Company was sold in 1921 to Ralph Leroy Nafziger and in 1930, through the merger of Schulze Baking and Western Bakeries of Los Angeles, Interstate Bakeries was formed. In this same year, Hostess Brands was established by Interstate Bakeries. More information can be read here.

1950 Sanborn Insurance Map - Source
The former police station is now listed as storage for the bakery.
Buildings continued to be added over the years, joining existing buildings. In the picture below, you can see the all the buildings which have been combined. And yes, the original Domestic Science Baking Company building is still standing on Fifth Street, although the facade has been altered over the years.
Google Aerial View
Google Streetview
Original Domestic Science Baking Company
I wonder if those pies are still buried in the corner stone...

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