Hentz Bakery made its name
with Blue Ribbon Bread
to be sold at July auction
(July 2005) For years, the hot spot in downtown
Madison, Ind., for bread and other baked goods was the Hentz Bakery
at 316 Mulberry Street. Charles A. and Minnie Hentz opened the Hentz
Bakery after they were married in 1912. Charles was a master baker whose
innovative techniques and state of the art equipment allowed him to
stay competitive in the baking industry.
by Michelle Hicks
and Barbara Hentz pose at the former Hentz Bakery on Mulberry
Street in Madison. They plan to sell the bakery equipment but
not the building.
His key product, Blue Ribbon Bread, was produced in mass
quantities, and he purchased one of the first manufactured bread slicing
machines for use in his bakery.
On July 23, equipment from this historic bakery will be sold at an auction
by the Sara Minor Auction Service to be held at the bakery building.
With it will go a piece of Madisons past.
The Hentz had three children and the family lived above the bakery until
they moved to third street in the early 1940s. Charles daughter,
Martha Hoefling, who still resides in the Hentz family home on Third
Street, said Charles closed the bakery at that time for health reasons.
Fortunately, an interest in baking ran in the family. When Charles
son, Charles P. Hentz (Charlie), returned from U.S. Marine Corps service
during World War II, he and his wife Marcia re-opened the bakery in
1946. The first item of business; their wedding cake. Charlie was no
stranger to the baking business. He began working for his father in
the bakery at age 8 and continued to work for him until he departed
for the Marine Corps.
provided by the Hentz family
and Marcie Hentz
serving customers in 1946.
According to Charlies son, Chris Hentz, Charlie
shared his fathers innovative nature and drive to maximize productivity
and quality. The Hentz bakers had very high standards, said
Chris Hentz, 55. Charlies strong work ethic was instilled in his
eight children. Each child worked in the bakery from age 8 until 18,
and each child had special duties, depending on their age. Chris Hentz
said that a special duty reserved to the youngest bakery worker was
to carry the top tier of the wedding cakes. Charlies
mother, Minnie, made each of his children their own apron from recycled
cotton flour sacks.
Hentz family members werent the only bakery workers. The Hentz
Bakery continuously employed 15 to 20 workers, and the family took good
care of the people in its employ. Minnie Hentz cooked full meals for
the employees in the evenings before they began their all night baking
Like his father, Charlie lived with his family above the bakery. The
family remained there until 1955, when they bought a home on Telegraph
Hill. Charlie continued to operate the Hentz Bakery until 1980, when
its doors were permanently closed. Charlies family members arent
sure why he decided to close the bakery when he did, but his sister
Martha guessed that he just retired. She added that Charlie
loved his family very much and probably just wanted to spend
more time with them.
The building is now owned by Chris and Barbara Hentz, who bought the
building from Chris mother in 1992. Caleb and Sarah Schmidtlapp
constructed the building in the early 19th century and, according to
Chris and Barbara Hentz, who have studied the history of the building
and the site extensively, it continually housed a bakery for nearly
two centuries. Barbara said that prior to the construction of the building,
a bakery was located on the site under a tarpaulin and rough lumber
The Hentzes are undecided about future plans for the Hentz Bakery building,
but they intend to continue their efforts to preserve the history of
the building and the bakery operations. These efforts include meticulous
documentation of photographs, equipment and business records.
provided by the Hentz family
above is the
Hentz Bakerys delivery truck.
The Hentz Bakery is an important piece of Madisons
rich history. Generations of families were raised on Blue Ribbon Bread,
and many young couples began their lives together over a piece of wedding
cake baked by the Hentz family. Memories of this special bakery will
linger for years to come. Even the famous Hentz family doughnut recipe
remained alive long after the bakery closed. Chris and Barbara Hentz
said Charlie gave his doughnut recipe and equipment to Shawe Memorial
High School after the bakery closed, and the equipment and recipe were
used by the school to prepare the doughnuts it sold over the Madison
Auctioneer Sara Minor said she has no idea what kind of
crowd to expect at the auction but that commercial bakery owners and
museum curators may attend. Bakery equipment to be auctioned includes
slicers, baking pans and a high volume cookie maker.
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