Sunday, May 27, 2018

The Delmar Steam Bakery

Delmar has had a number of bakeries over the years but there have only been two that tried to service an area larger than just Delmar.  The more recent is the William Freihofer Baking Company that in 1949 built their new bakery on Bi-State Boulevard.  The Freihofer Bakery was originally in the old Delmar Steam Bakery building off North Second Street between State Street and Grove Street.  The Delmar Steam Bakery seems to have caused it many owners trouble and woe. 
Located in an odd location that seemed to have been the backyard of two separate building lots, it was torn down in the 1950s.  In the photo above is the empty back lot it stood on.

The above Sanborn fire insurance map shows it (shaded building indicating masonry construction) was a one story building the main part of it was brick with frame porches and loading docks. 
Throughout the many sales of the bakery the house in front of it on Second Street was always included.  It seems to date back to 1910 or so.

The building for the bakery was originally built about 1910 by Herman Oelrich (a baker in Seaford) and it was immediately sold at a sheriff sale to the Doody brothers of Salisbury who sold it to Isaac Watson and Joseph Ellis in 1912.  So after a rugged start it was in operation as a bakery, a steam bakery, at the time it was built the term “steam bakery” was used often it usually meant that the ovens were heated by steam pipes to 500 degrees, and that it was more sanitary then a coal or wood oven of that time.  
Isaac Watson (1850-1923) was a baker and he had over his 70 years of life managed and owned bakeries from Bridgeville to Delmar.  At the time he purchased the Oelrich bakery in Delmar he also purchased the Oelrich bakery in Laurel and sold it to Harry Raake. When he purchased the Delmar bakery he was running a grocery store in Delmar that he also sold.  His house was burnt in the Delmar fire of 1892.  In 1895 he had a small bakery in Delmar and made the news by being attacked by Levin Hastings a merchant in Delmar with an axe handle.  He was severely beat about the head and there was concern he might not live.  In 1900 his son, Harry, was shot in the foot by Orin J. Willey in Bridgeville and Isaac went to Bridgeville with a gun where he was arrested for threatening to shoot Willey.  After he went bankrupt with the Delmar bakery he would move to Seaford about 1919 to run another bakery and would die in 1923 at age 76 of Brights disease.  He was the son of George Watson and Mary Jane Rust Watson.  He was twice married; his first wife was Lizzie P. Watson (1851-1889). His second wife was Sarah Elizabeth Ellis ( -1940).  Isaac and Sarah had as children; Lelia who in 1910 eloped with Hoyt Wainwright and Jessie, the youngest, who would marry Hugh Thomas Morrow.  Children by Isaac and Lizzie were; Their son Harry (1883- 1970) married in 1924 in Washington State to Alice Estella Sanders. He would stay in Washington State.   Other children of Isaac and Lizzie were Lizzie P (1889-1889), Frank J (1885-1888), Clifford (1876- ), Edwin W. (1886-1887), and Rachel (1897-1966 )
Isaac Watson would go bankrupt and lose the Delmar steam bakery.
Next Samuel Frederick Krause (1879-1925) would run the bakery. Mr. Krause had lived in Delmar since about 1900 after he moved here from Princess Anne where he had another bakery. He purchased the Bakery for $4,000 in 1919.  After his wife died in 1923 he became despondent about raising his son and two daughters and it reached a head in 1925 when he cut his wrist and inhaled illuminating gas, killing himself. His brother, Clinton Krause was a business man in Salisbury and in 1908 Clinton owned the Salisbury Baking Company.  It would later be named the Sweetheart Bakeries and be located on Olive Street in Salisbury. His other brother Albert was a miller at the Cohn and Block mills in Princess Anne. 
He was the son of Owen and Rosa German Krause. He was born in Pennsylvania.  Samuel’s wife was Annie Parker (1883-1923). They married in 1907.  They had as children; Aline (1908-1986), Albert Samuel (1910-1991), and Nancy Ellen (1916-1988). All would become successful people in Salisbury, where they were taken to live with their uncle Clinton D. Krause after their father’s death. Aline would become a school teacher and marry Charles S. Hayman and after his death she married harry L. Harcum.  Nancy would marry Boyd McLernon.  Albert “Dutch” Krause would become a barber in Salisbury.
Next in 1925,  Eugene “Gene” Raleigh Wilson (1900-1975) would buy the building and equipment from the estate of Sam Krause for $9,000.  He had worked at the bakery. He would run the bakery until 1932 when he filed for bankruptcy with liabilities of $19,997 and assets of $12,918.  He was the son of George Edgar Wilson and Pauline Verdin Messick Wilson.  His father would die in a railroad accident in 1930.  He would marry Madelyn Phillips.  He would serve in the Navy in WW2. His work career after the bakery would include being a men’s clothing salesman, running the Red Apple Restaurant in North Carolina and working for the Maryland Department of Employment Security.
Charles H. Wahl, an employee at the bakery, would die in 1929 at age 70.
In 1930 the Scaler of Weights and Measures for Sussex County, Dallas M. Rogers, had a Delmar Steam Bakery truck stopped and it’s loafs of bread weighed.  They were found to be less than 16 ounces per loaf.  Earl Smith, the driver of the truck, was arrested as the representative of the Delmar Steam Bakery.
Next, in 1932, Edward Levin Hitchens (1885-1962) and Earl “Benny” Wootten bought the building.  They had at the time a small bakery in the Whayland Building on Railroad Avenue.  Most of the Wilson equipment had been sold off in the bankruptcy auction.  They started to operate it but for whatever reason sold to Carroll Elliott in late 1932. E. L. Hitchens worked for the railroad and I would guess he put up the money and Benny Wootten was the baker. Benny would go on to be a baker at other bakeries and end up running a grocery store with his wife, Mildred Anne Phillips Wootten, in Fenwick Island. 
Carroll Martin Elliott (1894-1950) ran the bakery from 1932 till 1939.  He would expand it with more routes for his bread sales and make improvements to the machinery. Again they seem to have routes that went to Pocomoke, Seaford and bay to Ocean. About nine men work for the bakery, which included the delivery men.  Mr. Elliott health started to fail and he sold the bakery in 1939 to Mr. Rugeriis.  He would remain in poor health for the next 11 years and would die in 1950.  He was the son of Elijah Martin Elliott and Bertha Elliott. He was married to Anne Belle Otwell.  They would have two daughters; Annabelle Otwell Elliott and Glennella Elliott.

Next, In 1939, Guiseppe De Rugeriis of Philadelphia would buy it.  The name would become The Delmar Baking Co. He would build a the new bakery on Bi-State.  He would employed 12 men.  The bakery was owned by Guiseppe De Rugeriis, with Antonia  De Rugeriis, Joseph Bellefonte, all of Philadelphia and Larry Horseman of Delmar.  The Rugeriis and Bellefonte were indicted for price fixing in 1943 with 11 other Philadelphia bakery officials.  Guiseppe De Rugeriis and Carmello Bellefonte ran the A. B. C. Baking Company started in 1919.

Mr. Rugeriis was sold the bakery in 1943 to Freihofer Bakery of Philadelphia

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