Upstate Legends! A Look Back at Freihofer’s Baking Company
First, a personal reflection.
In 1969, I was a 19-year old student at Albany Business College. I got my first job in the city at Freihofer's bakery, which had a large factory on Spruce Street near Arbor Hill. I walked to it every day from my college, which was on Washington Street. The factory was cavernous, dark, smelly, and a wee bit scary. (It is now modern condos and townhomes).
My job at the bakery was putting cherries on cupcakes. Literally. I would stand at a conveyor belt and place half-cherries on top of cupcakes as they rolled by (memories of Lucy?). My friend and I both worked there at the same time and we were the youngest of all the bakery workers. I remember one day I messed up on the conveyor belt, and the plant manager, a fierce looking woman with white cats-eye glasses on a chain around her neck, came over to me, put her finger in my chest, and said "Danish!" I knew what that meant.
I was banished to the Danish making department for the rest of the day. Nobody liked working there because it was hot back there and the Danish pastry was covered with a sticky, gooey icing that pretty much melded your fingers together. My first paycheck was about $15 for the week.
One other vivid memory I have from my time at Freihofers is when a strike was called. I knew nothing about this but it had been chatter for several days. All of a sudden somebody yelled "Strike!" "Strike!" and they all walked off the job. And nobody turned off the machines. I was a kid and didn't know what to do so I followed everybody and left the cupcakes to pile up on the floor next to me (I wouldn't have known how to turn off the belt anyway). If I remember we all went to a bar and celebrated (what we were celebrating I am still not sure). I never returned to the bakery.
Now, this gallery.
This is the first in a series of galleries we will post entitled "Upstate Legends." They will focus on people, places, things, and events that have happened over the last 100-200 years in Upstate history. I hope you enjoy them.
The first one is all about Freihofer's Bakery. It began in the late 1878 in Philadelphia by immigrant baker William Freihofer. In 1913 the company opened a large baking plant in Troy and then Albany.
This gallery will consist of memories of the bakeries in the Capital District only.
Of special note. Freihofer's was known for their robust marketing techniques. They produced one of the very first children's programs, "Freddie Freihofer's Breadtime Stories," on WRGB TV in 1949 and ran throughout the Baby Boom era of the 1950s and early 1960s. It was immensely popular. This gallery has photos of the TV show, in which large groups of Albany area kids went to participate in. Hey, maybe you are in one of these photos.
We hope you enjoy our first "Upstate Legends" with a photo memory book of the legendary Freihofer's Bakery in the Capital District.
Upstate Legend! A Look Back at Freihofer's Baking Company
Gallery Credit: Chuck D'Imperio
French Macarons Dazzle in These Upstate New York Bakeries
Gallery Credit: Chuck D'Imperio