Here are my notes regarding the bakery taken from
information that mom had.
1902- Bakery was started at home by Mrs. B.C. Durkee.
A start was made in a store where the Homer Village Fire Station now stands, but
ill health (of B. C.) forced a temporary closing.
Source: Florence Durkee speech when she retired from the
Pictures attached of the first store and founders Lena and
Times were hard 50 years ago. Lena Durkee needed to supplement her
husband’s $10 a week income and started baking bread for her friends and
neighbors. As the fame of this good bread spread, her husband, Bert, decided to
team up with her and start a baking business. She often said, “He became a far
better baker than I ever was.”
The beginning was very humble; fair sized room with a kitchen range to
bake in, and a small room for the sales room.
Bread made from yeast foam was raised in large dishpans and kneaded by
hand. Cake was stirred by hand, apples pared by hand and all fillings for pies
made up as in one’s own kitchen. There were no shortcuts and no prepared mixes
and no one even dreamed of a 40 hour week.
The Durkees had one son Albert, who grew up with the business. Starting
at the age of ten, perhaps earlier, he stood on a bench to mix brown bread while
his mother mixed the cookies and his father mixed the white bread.
bakery was retail until 1921, delivering by horse and cart.