Then and Now: Spokane Bakery Co.

1909 brick plant housed several baking companies over the years

Photo illustration by Jesse Tinsley photo

The old Continental Baking building on Broadway, between Post and Lincoln, is shown in a composite of two photographs: one taken in 2011 and one taken about 1930, when a Wonder Bread bakery was housed there. Web extra: Browse a gallery of historic and present-day photo illustrations at spokesman.com.

December 10, 2012 - Updated: 4:37 a.m.

Businessman David Ackerman, born in 1873, believed that factory bakeries would “hasten the day when the housewife shall bake no more.” He bought Spokane Bakery Co. in 1906 and started making changes. In 1909 he built the brick plant on Broadway between Lincoln and Post streets to make bread on a large scale. He believed only a mechanized plant could produce bread with proper sanitation, consistent quality and uniformity that customers demand. He said technology has “eliminated all possibility of contamination and has reduced the cost of manufacturing to a point where, by judicious use of machinery and proper business management, the baker can earn adequate returns on his investment. … When we produce a first-class loaf of bread, uniform day in and day out, and when the housewife learns that she can depend upon always getting a good bread from the baker, then will she cease to bake.” Continental Baking, a nationwide company, bought Ackerman’s operation in 1925, and the Spokane plant began making its signature product, Wonder Bread. The building was rebuilt after a fire in 1947. The plant bought one of the first machines for bagging bread in plastic bags in 1964. Before that, bread was sold in cellophane wrappers. Interstate Bakeries Corp., another baking conglomerate, bought the plant in 1995 and operated until it was shuttered in 2000, eliminating 111 local jobs. At its peak, the bakery produced 500,000 pounds of bread products a week. – Jesse Tinsley

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