Hoosick Township Historical Society

Newsletter - November 2006

Editor: Phil Leonard
Museum Curator: Charles Filkins
Louis Miller Museum (518) 686-4682

Hoosick Falls...As I Recall

A wonderful book was published in 1992 by Dr. Carleton L. Reed called “Hoosick Falls...As I Recall.” It is out of print but is great reading for anyone interested in what life was like during the first half of the 1900s in Hoosick Falls. Below is a section quoted from this book. (Illustrations by Dr. Reed)

There were two bakeries in the village in the 1920s. Witbeck specialized in pastries, and Arthur Reed's bakery supplied all of the bread, and delivered pies, cakes and cookies. As there was a sizable Lithuanian and Polish population, he had large round loaves of Polish rye shipped to him from Albany. These were often cut in half, and each 2 1/2 pound section was sold for 25 cents. Italian bread was sent by rail to Reed's Bakery from North Adams. All bread was shipped and sold unwrapped. Later, several delivery wagons were needed to transport bread to the railroad station, and for commercial and home deliveries. One wagon covered Clay Hill, second ward and the business section; a second wagon delivered to the third ward and Bunker Hill; and a third wagon brought bread and cakes to North Hoosick and Wallomsac. Arranging for the baking and prompt delivery of fresh bread to each family in town; to all grocery stores, boarding houses, hotels and restaurants; and shipping by train to all of the village stores in the Hoosick valley was a complicated logistical procedure which needed to be carefully organized and precisely planned in advance. The daily train schedule dictated many of the arrangements. Bread to be shipped by rail to the village stores in the valley had to be baked, boxed, and on the Railway Express carts at the station in advance of the pick up by trains traveling both East and West on the upper and lower tracks. Trains on the Boston and Maine upper track proceeded on to Hoosick Junction, Eagle Bridge, Buskirk and Johnsonville. The lower track trains ran toward North Adams and enabled shipments to Hoosick, North Petersburg, Berlin and Pownal. When the conductor shouted "All aboard" the bread boxes had to be aboard, if folks in the towns up and down the valley were to eat bread that day. The bakery delivery wagons were on their routes peddling fresh bread six days a week. In addition, on Sundays and holidays, my father made deliveries to all restaurants, boarding houses and hotels. This meant, for him, a work schedule of 365 days a year (and 366 on Leap Year). His only "vacation" as I recall was Thursday afternoon during the week of the Cambridge Fair, when he would take the family to the Fair, and he, would spend the afternoon wagering on the trotters. On Sunday, after making the early morning commercial deliveries, father would take all of his horses from the barn to a vacant lot (now the location of Stewart's on River Street) and let them graze and roll in the grass. Then they were washed and curried and returned to their stables which had been cleaned and freshly strawed. In winter the delivery wagons were replaced by sleighs with jingling sleigh bells. Originally the bakery was called "Reed's Quality Bakery" with "bread as good as, mother's".

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