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COLLIN STREET BAKERY, CORSICANA

Collin Street Bakery
Photograph, Interior of the Collin Street Bakery in Corsicana. Image courtesy of the Collin Street Bakery. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.
DeLuxe Fruitcake
Photograph, Collin Street Bakery's famous DeLuxe Fruitcake. Image courtesy of the Collin Street Bakery. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

COLLIN STREET BAKERY, CORSICANA. In 1896 August Weidmann, a young German immigrant, opened a bakery on Collin Street in Corsicana, with financial backing from Tom McElwee, local cotton buyer and opera-house proprietor. Weidmann's specialty was a fruitcake baked by a recipe he had brought with him from his native country. McElwee suggested the trade name DeLuxe Fruitcake for the product. In 1906 the business was moved to a location on Sixth Avenue, and there McElwee opened an exclusive hotel on the second floor of the bakery. Enrico Caruso, John J. McGraw, and Will Rogers were among the celebrities who stayed at the hotel at various times. In 1914 a Ringling Brothers circus troupe, in Corsicana for a performance, bought dozens of DeLuxe Fruitcakes to give as Christmas gifts to friends and relatives all over the United States and in Europe. As a result, the bakery received an overwhelming number of orders from the recipients for more cakes, and the company's mail-order business resulted.

Gus Weidmann and Tom McElwee
Photograph, Two of the founders of the Collin Street Bakery, Gus Weidmann and Tom McElwee. Image courtesy of the Collin Street Bakery. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

McElwee died in 1946; Weidmann died the following year. Lee McNutt, R. F. Rutherford, Harry Montgomery, and H. T. Cook purchased the business from McElwee's widow. L. W. (Bill) McNutt, Jr., Lee McNutt's son, joined the firm in 1958, and in 1967 became company president. His two sons are also involved in the company's management. In 1967 the bakery moved to its current location at 401 West Seventh Avenue. Although there is a small retail outlet in the bakery that sells traditional bakery items, the emphasis of the business has continued to be its mail-order DeLuxe Fruitcakes. Company officials have rejected numerous offers from major food companies to distribute the fruitcakes. The cakes are available only through the bakery or by mail order and cannot be purchased in stores. From October through mid-December the company bakes 30,000 fruitcakes (75,000 pounds) a day and expands its force from fifty regular employees to more than 600. The cakes are shipped to all fifty states and more than 190 countries.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Dallas Morning News, November 22, 1950, May 21, 1972. Pecan Press, December 1983.

Tommy W. Stringer

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Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Tommy W. Stringer, "Collin Street Bakery, Corsicana," accessed July 24, 2016, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/dic01.

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Modified on April 11, 2016. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.