Baker Chocolate Factory - Milton, MA
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member NorStar
N 42° 16.230 W 071° 04.035
19T E 329518 N 4681879
Quick Description: The Baker Chocolate Factory was the oldest chocolate mill in America and one of the most successful enterprises.
Location: Massachusetts, United States
Date Posted: 3/3/2018 4:50:39 PM
Waymark Code: WMXVQG
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member Shorelander
Views: 2

Long Description:
In Milton, along the Neponset Greenway, is a historical sign for the Baker Chocolate Company.

The Neponset Greenway is a pedestrian way that runs along the Neponset River. There is a parking lot nearby off Adams Street. We parked elsewhere and walked along the path.

The sign is a short distance east of the crosswalk with Adams Street, on the left (north) side as you walk. To the left is a a building that is now used for storage.

The sign has the following text:

"Baker Chocolate Company

The Neponset River is home to the first chocolate mill in America, and to one of the great commercial enterprises of the country.

In 1765 Dr. James Baker of Dorchester happened upon a destitute Irishman named John Hannon on the banks of the Neponset. Hearing of Hannon's skill at making chocolate, Dr. Baker invested in the establishment of "Hannon's Best Chocolate: in a rented mill space in Milton. Hannon's guarantee, printed on the wrapper, was 'If the chocolate does not prove good, the Money will be returned.' John Hannon disappeared in 1779, reportedly to the West Indies, and Dr. Baker purchased the company, renaming it Baker Chocolate Company. By the time of the Civil War, there were four independent chocolate manufacturers in Lower Mills: The Baker, Preston, Ware, and Webb & Twombley companies.

Walter Baker, the last of the Baker family to run the company, died in 1852. Henry L. Pierce leased the chocolate mill and began to expand the company and its market. Over the next several years he bought out his local competitors and began marketing Baker's chocolate nationwide. Pierce bought the interests of the Baker family in 1886 and continued to run the company until his death in 1896. That year the Forbes Syndicate, led by Milton summer resident J. Murry Forbes bouth the company for $4.75 million and began a tremendous expansion of both the physical plant and the worldwide market for its chocolate. The company displayed its chocolate at national and international expositions and competitions [sic] As a result of seeing the chocolate displays fo the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Milton Hershey of Lancaster Pennsylvania's Lancaster Carmel Company hired two chocolate makers from Baker Chocolate and opened Hershey's Chocolate in 1894.

Most of the buildings you see today in the Baker Chocolate mill complex were built in the years 1902-1919, a time of tremendous expansion. In 1927 the Forbes Syndicate sold the company to the Postum Company, which later became General Foods Corporation. In 1966 General Foods move the operation to Dover, Delaware, ending two hundred years of chocolate manufacturing in Lower Mills. In 1985 General Foods was acquired by Philip Morris Company, Inc. and in 1989 was combined with Kraft Foods, Inc. Baker's Chocolate is still made by Kraft Foods today, over 230 years after being founded."

Side text:

"'La Belle Chocolatiere' Cookbook

Henry Pierce saw the pastel portrait 'Das Schoko-laden Madchen' by Jean-Etienne Liotard at the Dresden Art Gallery in Germany in 1881. He renamed it 'La Belle Chocolatiere' and adopted the chocolate server as his trademark."

There are many buildings around, all along Adams Street. Most of them are on the Dorchester (Boston) side of the river, but at least one of the buildings are on the Milton side. Take a walk around. There are other waymarks in the vicinity that have more abour about the company.
Agency Responsible for Placement: Other (Place below)

Agency Responsible for Placement (if not in list above): Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation

County: Norfolk

City/Town Name: Milton

Relevant Web Site: [Web Link]

Year Placed: Not listed

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