In mid-20th century Chattanooga, Holsum bread was considered the greatest thing since ... well, you know.
Most Scenic City groceries stocked locally produced Holsum bread and rolls, with the heyday of the company here peaking in the 1960s and 1970s. The bakery's advertising pitch was: "For old-fashioned goodness, ask for Holsum."
As late as the 1970s, consumers could buy four loaves of Holsum Bread at the Food Giant grocery store in St. Elmo for $1, according to newspaper advertisements of the day.
This 1975 photo from the archives of the Chattanooga News-Free Press shows workers at the Holsum Bakery Company plant at Dodson and Crutchfield avenues here, which was built in 1956.
Before that, the company was headquartered at 1615 Cowart St. in the Southside, a property that in 2003 was converted into the Bread Factory Lofts, a residential complex with 26 apartment units.
Holsum Bakery Co. was established here in 1946, when the C.S. Patterson Co. of Kansas City, Missouri, purchased the former Cameron and Barr Baking Co., which dated to the late 19th century. Holsum was a white bread brand produced by independent bakeries across America.
In May 1947, H.L. McCrory, a former Chattanooga banker and attorney, was named president and general manager of Holsum Bakery here, according to news reports.
"Holsum looks to the future, not the past," McCrory vowed upon getting the job. "Holsum is building for tomorrow."
Indeed, by the 1970s, the bread factory here had at least 85 hourly workers and produced 7,000 pounds of white bread and 5,000 pounds of rolls per day.
In 1979, Flowers Industries Inc. of Thomasville, Georgia, purchased the local bakery, but soon ceased production here because of the lack of profitability and outdated equipment, newspaper reports said.
Flowers, a bakery company with plants across the Southeast, continued to distribute Holsum and Sunbeam bread produced elsewhere in Chattanooga into at least the 1990s.
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