I was born in Orange in 1948. There was
a Butter Gem bakery on North Lincoln Avenue in Chicago that was
owned by the Ernst family. It operated under "Ernst's Butter
Gems". My father purchased this bakery in 1949 and operated
it under the same name until his health failed in 1956. He sold
the bakery to Don Stonier of NE Pennsylvania and Florida. The name
was changed to Stonier's Butter Gems and eventually they made a
deal with Pepperidge Farm to produce Butter Gems for them exclusively.
When Pepperidge decided that Butter Gems did not fit their marketing
plans any longer the bakery was forced out of business. At one time
there were several Butter Gem bakeries. They were located in Silver
Spring, MD, Newark, NJ, Jacksonville, FL, Chicago, Philadelphia
PA, and I believe there was one in Seattle and one in Cincinnati
for a brief period. When the Ernst family sold the Chicago bakery
to my father they retired to Chehalis, WA.
It brings back a lot of memories growing up in Chicago and being
in the bakery. There was nothing better than eating a hot Butter
Gem right out of the ovens. My father kept the building when he
sold the bakery to Stonier and we would visit the bakery from our
home in southern Indiana a few times each year. I would still take
BGs right from the baking rack and eat several of them while my
father talked business with Mr. Stonier.
I believe that my mother may still have the original recipe for