Remember chocolate-covered cherries?
Millions of Americans came to love the fruity confection made popular by one of Chattanooga's iconic 20th-century businesses: Brock Candy Co.
At one time, the Brock Candy Co. factory here covered a whole city block on Chestnut Street at roughly the site of the modern-day Chattanooga Convention Center parking garage.
In the Chattanooga plant's heyday, 500 workers were said to have made 200,000 pounds of candy a day — that's 100 tons.
This photo, taken inside the Brock Candy plant in 1952, shows a display rack with a collection of Brock goodies including chocolate-covered cherries, mints, nut rolls and chocolate drops.
The image is part of a collection of photographs at ChattanoogaHistory.com traced to EPB, Chattanooga's power utility. The website, which features vintage photos of the city, is curated by local history enthusiast Sam Hall.
According to Chattanooga Times newspaper archives, the Brock Candy Co. dates to 1909, when a former tobacco salesman, William E. Brock Sr. bought out his partners in a small Chattanooga candy business and renamed the company after himself.
Launched by history enthusiast Sam Hall in 2014, ChattanoogaHistory.com is maintained to present historical images in the highest resolution available.
If you have photo negatives, glass plate negatives, or original non‐digital prints taken in the Chattanooga area, contact Sam Hall for information on how they may qualify to be digitized and preserved at no charge.
Besides being one of Chattanooga's leading businessmen, Brock, a Democrat, was also a United States senator. He died in 1950.
Two decades later, his grandson, William E. "Bill" Brock III, was also elected to the U.S. Senate from Tennessee, as a Republican.
By the middle of the 20th century the candy company had 60 salesmen and brokers and distributed its products in 48 states, according to newspaper reports. It was said to be the largest candy manufacturer in the South.
On the company's 50th anniversary in 1959, the Chattanooga Times editorial page wrote: "We suppose that all the peanuts the Brock Candy Co. has used in 50 years would pebble a highway to the moon and back."
In the early 1960s, the company purchased a 30-acre tract in the Shallowford Industrial District for its warehouse and distribution operations. In 1976, the downtown manufacturing operation was moved there, as well.
According to a company history on the Tennessee Encyclopedia website, Brock-made chocolate-covered cherries emerged as a favorite Christmas gift in the 1930s. In the 1980s, the company made its first gummy bears and gummy worms.
In 1994 the company was sold to the E.J. Brach Corp. for $140 million. The Jersey Pike candy plant closed for good in 2014.
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Contact Mark Kennedy at mkennedy@timefreepress com.