Sweet Home Chicago: The History Of America’s Candy Capital
Created by the Elmhurst History Museum
Generously sponsored by Gayety’s Chocolates & Ice Cream
“Sweet Home Chicago” will be unavailable for viewing on November 1-3 due to Humanities Festival programs and our food and wine event Kouzina.
In 1906, “The Greek Star,” one of America’s oldest Greek language newspapers, reported there were 925 Greek-owned candy and ice-cream businesses in Chicago, making major contributions to the city’s finances. Only a few years later, in 1914, the Illinois Food Commissioner’s Annual Report noted that its “Bulletin No. 28” relating to ice cream, was published in Greek for the benefit of more than 30,000 Greeks in the soda, candy and ice cream business in the State.
The ice cream and sweets industry takes center stage as we present an exhibition that traces Chicago’s candy-making history back to the 19th century and the first waves of immigration.
Some of our visitors will draw on childhood memories and take a nostalgic walk-down-memory-lane; for others, it will be an entertaining journey through the history of such greats as Milk Duds, Tootsie Roll, the Dove Bar, Cracker Jack, Cupid Candies and Frango Mints, to mention just a few, most created and still produced in Chicago.
Visitors will enjoy a short documentary narrated by Bill Kurtis, former CBS anchor, interactive displays with nostalgic photos and artifacts, a Candy IQ Quiz, the Twisted Candy Challenge that will test their candy-wrapping skills, ice cream socials, candy-making workshops, book presentations, and plenty more fun and tasty activities.
The exhibition also offers a forum for celebrating with Greek traditions, such as name-days, and others, where sweets, and food in general, play a definitive role in bringing people together and strengthening community bonds.
Elmhurst History Museum