The Somerville Twinkie connection

On January 19, 2013, in Latest News, by The Somerville Times


On The Silly Side by Jimmy Del Ponte

(The opinions and views expressed in the commentaries of The Somerville News belong solely to the authors of those commentaries and do not reflect the views or opinions of The Somerville News, its staff or publishers.)

Growing up and living in Somerville has been a blast. There was always something to do and always someplace fun to go close to home. We could walk or ride our bikes to a number of exciting destinations.

Last week I wrote about The Bingham School that used to be on Lowell Street. Well, this week we revisit Lowell Street to reminisce about The Hostess Bakery that was located at number 259.  You read it correctly! They actually used to make Twinkies, Sno-Balls, cupcakes and Wonder Bread in Somerville! Now tell me growing up in Somerville wasn’t the best!

We could walk to what they called the thrift store, attached to the factory, and buy all the snacks we could carry. Until the 1970’s The Hostess Bakery Company occupied the 51,500 square foot building at 259 Lowell Street. I have chronicled statements from people who were there, including me.

My first hand memory of this magical factory being in our area was that my friend’s father worked there. I remember the trunk of his car occasionally containing a variety of Hostess treats. Sort of like junk (food) in the trunk. The Twinkie as we know it may be gone (for now) but these delicious memories will last forever.

“My parents drove there every other Saturday (from Burlington) to stock up,” says a friend of mine. A Somerville kid recalls, “Some of the workers would give us damaged packages from the loading dock while friends that had money were inside buying day old stuff…Sometimes it tasted week old.” (Twinkies didn’t fall into that category because Twinkies were forever!)

Another seasoned ‘Villen shares this: “My mother would give me a quarter…yes, a whole 25 cents…and I could practically fill up my bike basket with Hostess Cupcakes, Twinkies, and Snowballs from the day-old store that was out in front of the factory on Lowell Street. I also toured the factory with my Girl Scout troop and saw how everything was made. My favorite memory was seeing how they put that white frosting squiggle on top of the chocolate cupcakes. Must’ve been early 1960’s.”

KC says, “Ah, the memories. Such a glorious factory right smack dab in the middle of our neighborhood. I’ll never forget its delicious ways, and the creamy filling – LOL.”

CV remembers buying a package of Sno-Balls for a nickel! “My grandmother lived on Alpine Street and we’d walk up the street to Lowell St. and get a treat! If you walked in the other direction to Cedar, you could get a treat at Dairy Queen!” How great was that for a kid? Twinkies one-way and ice cream the other.

JBF tells us that, “The workers would sometimes throw us packages of cupcakes from the window.”

Cuz tells us, “The workers used to leave racks of Sno-Balls near the dock to cool.”  And I know this is hard for some of you to believe, but some kids actually would “borrow” the Sno-Balls off the cooling rack. We would have Sno-Ball fights in July.”

What a great time to be growing up in Somerville. The Somerville Visiting Nurses facility now stands on the site of the old Hostess bakery. We had The Apollo Cake Bakery in East Somerville (see The Somerville News, On The Silly Side, November 9, 2011) and The Hostess Bakery in West Somerville.

You thought that Somerville was cool with trendy bars that boasts of 250 different ales and brews, and fancy shmancey cupcake stores, and burrito joints? Well, nothing comes close to having the Twinkie factory in your own back yard!


6 Responses to “The Somerville Twinkie connection”

  1. yvonne says:

    I share those same memories with you Jimmy, we used to go by there all the time, the aroma hit you when you were getting close.
    Twinkie’s were my favorite they where light fluffy and extremely filled. Yum. They were really nice to kids they always were handing them out when you went in there. Love those memories, keep them coming!

  2. DATGruntled says:

    Never got there, but I remember taking the mini-bus to Davis for a Table Talk apple pie.

  3. ritepride says:

    Somerville was blessed with commercial bakeries like Hostess & Appollo
    and the many individual bakeries, like Lyndells in Ball Square, and Steens in Teele Square, and many others and it seemed that every square had one or two bakeries as well as the many along Broadway, Somerville Ave., etc. The newer bakeries are not like the old ones. The newer bakeries seem to be trend types that last for awhile and then fade away.

    Back then the bakers would look and check the ovens to make sure the product was done to perfection and made fresh everyday. Today in the supermarkets computers decide and some products are baked in advance and frozen. Cookie mix is factory made and shipped in prepared in 5 gallon pails

    On occasion in my neighborhood there are mothers who bake in their homes for special occasions using their mother’s or grandmother’s home made recipe. Their windows are open and the sweet aroma of their home baked goods sweeps thru the air. Sometimes I thought of laying on the sidewalk by their house feigning illness and yelling out I needed cookie to be revived (lol). On said occasions Ain’t life grand?

  4. Old Taxpayer says:

    The trips from the Bingham school to do a tour of the Hostess factory was a yearly ritual. Ending up with having Twinkies and a milk after the grand tour. As for the home made stuff as kids we would get a lot of that at Halloween when you could trust what you got.

  5. DATGruntled says:

    ritepride, I have noticed a lot of the newer bakeries, like the now close kick@$$ cupcakes, opened mid morning at the earliest, which means no way to stop and grab something on your way to work. Which is why I still stop at Lyndell’s when getting doughnuts or other baked goods for work.

  6. Courtney O'Keefe says:

    Lyndell’s is a gem and this is coming from a girl who grew up with Cara Donna’s 😉

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