Sunday, October 20, 2013

Philadelphia's Sweet History

With the holidays approaching, shops are already stocking their shelves with those yellow boxes of candy. You know, the ones inevitably filled with half eaten pieces of mystery chocolates sometime about January 2nd.

I'm talking about the Whitman's Sampler. Me and my sister used to fight over the one piece of solid chocolate in the box.

Did you know the Sampler has its roots in Philadelphia? Older than our relationship with the cheesesteak, Whitman's Chocolates were created by Stephen F. Whitman and Sons in 1842.

Whitman's Retail Store, Chestnut Street, now the site of Men's Warehouse

Whitman's original confectionary shop was on Philadelphia's waterfront where he imported fruits and nuts from around the world. His original shop is long gone and its location is unclear, but his shops spread throughout the city with a flagship store at 12th and Market in 1866.

In the mid 1900s Whitman's was bought by an evaporated milk company and later sold to Russell Stover Candies in 1993.

Whitman's Retail Store, Chestnut Street

Russell Stover still produces the Whitman's Sampler, but its identity as a Philadelphia institution is all but gone, with Whitman's sole surviving storefront serving Men's Warehouse on Chestnut Street.

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