Sweet On Springfield: The City’s Long History Of National (and International) Candy Influence On View November 29

Sweet on Springfield: The City’s Long History of National (and International) Candy Influence on View November 29

Sweet on Springfield: The Confection Connection
November 29, 2019–April 26, 2020
Wood Museum of Springfield History

I am always amazed at how entrepreneurial Springfield businesses were—and the energy and reach is no different for confections businesses. They set up shop here and captured national and even international markets.

—Maggie Humberston, Curator of Library and Archives, Springfield Museums

Innovation in Springfield brought sweet success for clever entrepreneurs engaged in the business of candy making. As a companion exhibit to Sweet: A Tasty Journey, the Wood Museum of Springfield History is highlighting local historical stories with Sweet on Springfield: The Confection Connection, opening November 29, right on time for holiday happenings at the Springfield Museums.

“I am always amazed at how entrepreneurial Springfield businesses were—and the energy and reach is no different for confections businesses,” said Maggie Humberston, Curator of Library and Archives at the Springfield Museums. “They set up shop here and captured national and even international markets.”

Springfield has a long history of strong and innovative entrepreneurship, Humberston said, but we tend to think of precision machinery connected to things like automobiles, not candy! “The National Equipment Company sold its candy-making machinery all over the world,” Humberston said.

In fact New England Equipment, which began in 1891, dominated candy- and chocolate-making machinery manufacturing world-wide through the 1940s. “Their ideas revolutionized the candy making industry and allowed for mass production of candy,” Humberston said. “They helped make candy affordable for everyone.”

Baker’s Extracts came to Springfield in the early 1900s and produced many different flavorings to assist the home baker as well as the professional confectioner in turning out excellent cakes, sweets, and ice cream products. Their food flavorings were nationally distributed and were recognized by many as a household name.

Meanwhile another Springfield business, Jensen’s, established by Danish immigrant Franz George Jensen in 1877, caught the attention of Mrs. Grace Coolidge. She ordered one box of Jensen’s candy to be delivered to the White House every month of her husband Calvin’s United States Presidency. And the Kibbe Brothers Company was so popular by 1905 that it churned out twelve tons of candy a day, some of which was delivered as far away as California.

Springfield residents also benefited from any number of sweet shops, bakeries, and ice cream establishments throughout the city, including Barr’s and Jensen’s, and later the Nuttie Goodie Tea Room. Friendly Ice Cream opened on Boston Road in Springfield in the summer of 1935 by the young Blake brothers in the Pine Point neighborhood. “The fact that the brothers found success selling ice cream in the midst of the depression is a wonderful story of business acumen,” Humberston said. “They closed the shop during the war years, and yet when they began again, they worked their way over the decades to more than 500 shops.”

Sweet on Springfield highlights these and other local businesses which have, over the years, successfully satisfied the City’s sweet tooth.

Sweet on Springfield: The Confection Connection
November 29, 2019–April 26, 2020 at the Wood Museum of Springfield History

ALSO ON VIEW
Sweet: A Tasty Journey at the Wood Museum of Springfield History.

Unwrap the origins of our candy cravings! From the history of candy itself to its role within pop culture, this exhibition creates an immersive experience to learn about the nuts and sprinkles of the candy and chocolate-making process. Sweet includes fascinating stories about famous candy makers and chocolatiers, interactive video and audio displays, and candy-inspired art. The centerpiece of this exhibition is the Rock Candy Mountain, which offers visitors an exciting experience sprinkled with interactive displays and photo opportunities.

  • Jingle Match Game with interactive audio
  • Sweethearts Photo Op, with a hands-on coloring and learning activity
  • Amazing, relatable stories of Real Life Willy Wonkas
  • Stop Motion Station–hands-on interactive Jelly Belly Art
  • Beanboozled Taste Test Game, a wildly popular game with more yucky than yummy flavors
  • Candy-Inspired Art, including a real dress made of gum wrappers
  • The Science of Cooking Candy interactive challenge

Sweet: A Tasty Journey® was created by Stage Nine Design and is distributed by Exhibits Development Group.