Dugan's Bakery

by Harry T. Roman

Every weekday morning about 5:00 AM the big trailers from Dugan’s Bakery would come rumbling down North 4th Street past our house, heading for Bloomfield Avenue and points all over the city and county. The noise would vibrate my bedroom in the front of our red brick, two family house. Those trucks were my early alarm clock. I didn’t mind though because I knew what was inside those trucks------the best baked goods in town.

My wife grew up in East Orange, and also had a sweet tooth for Dugan’s products, especially the cupcakes. There must have been a glaze of icing 3/8th inches thick on those babies. We laughed recently while both remembering how we used to peel off the icing and eat that last. At the plant, which occupied a block and a half at the end of 4th and 3rd Streets, adjacent to the City Subway, was a company store where you could buy their products. From my backyard, I could see the tops of the Dugan’s buildings, just down the street. But I had it better than most, my Uncle Mickey lived upstairs and worked for a while at Dugan’s. Many times he brought us a treat from work.

Their local delivery trucks were small, funny looking, two-toned vehicles, the front of which always reminded me of a squashed nose. For some reason the brand name on the vehicles has stayed in my mind- “Gertenschlagger”- most likely German. These stubby little vehicles zipped around neighborhood streets, replenishing local store stock on a daily basis. Sometimes inquiring local boys and girls managed to liberate a few items when the driver went inside to deliver his products. Hey the power of a sweet tooth is not to be taken lightly.

Often we would play street softball between the factory buildings on Abington Avenue. The street was wide and plenty long enough. You just had to make sure the ball didn’t go down one of the covered corner sewers. There weren’t many trucks as they were all out delivering goods, so it was safe to play there. Sometimes the workers would take their break and watch us.

Dugan’s has been gone now for over 40 years. I seem to remember that Carvel Ice Cream bought them out. But, how I would like to see a Dugan’s bakery box again and taste their cupcakes. They probably would taste awfully sweet to me now, but I’d sure like to relive that moment one more time. My wife wants to taste their tarts again…... me too, the pineapple ones.

I can almost hear those trucks.

I think I smell confectionary sugar.

Response by Debbie Dugan Johnson


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