Reporting Mike Krauser
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ELMHURST, Ill. (CBS) — The Elmhurst Historical Museum has opened a new exhibit called “Sweet Home Chicago: The History of America’s Candy Capital.”
“Many of the iconic candy companies got their start right here in Chicago,” said Patrice Roche, spokeswoman for the museum. “You know, names like Wrigley, Mars, Blommer’s – the list goes on – Tootsie Rolls, et cetera.”
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The hog butcher to the world was also the candy capital, producing more than a third of all the world’s candy.
“It started in the late 1800s, and really into the heyday into the ’60s and ’70s, candy makers were really a large industry in Chicago,” Roche said.
That was in part because of the influence of immigrants, as well as easy transportation and access to commodities.
The “Candy Capital of the World” moniker was still in use as late as 1997 by no less an authority than since-retired Mayor Richard M. Daley. At the time, he was indignant that the retailer then known as Marshall Field’s had decided to move production of its Frango Mints out of Chicago.
“There are certainly are candy makers still to be found,” Roche said.
Tootsie Rolls are still made in Chicago, at 7401 S. Cicero Ave. on the city’s Southwest Side.
So are the products of the Ferrara Pan Candy Company – including Lemonheads, Red Hots and Boston Baked Beans – in Forest Park. The Ferrara Pan company plans to merge with Farley’s & Sathers Candy, the Minnesota-based maker of Brach’s candies and Chuckles.
Also, Baby Ruth and Butterfinger bars are still made in Franklin Park, even though their local manufacturer, the Curtiss Candy Company, was sold off in 1964 and has been a owned by Nestlé since 1990.
The exhibit is free. The museum is located at 120 E. Park Ave. in Elmhurst, and is open from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays.