Handy Chocolate Company

I like to point out old and unusual buildings to my daughter Nora. Once, I pointed to a building and said "that looks like it used to be a factory. What kind of factory do you think it was". She blurted out with glee, "I think it was a chocolate factory!" Oh, to be four years old again.

It turns out that there once was a chocolate factory in Springfield. The building is still standing, and I bet many of you have driven by it without even knowing what it once was.



If you often drive on Berkshire Avenue, in Pine Point, you will recognize the above building. Its address is 616 Berkshire Avenue. If you're on top of things, you might know this by its current usage, a bus company yard for Student First transportation.

You might remember this building as Ciocca Construction Company, or New Directions Community Outreach Inc., or School of the Warriors martial arts, or as housing a gun dealer, or as "Crossroads" (a dry club for teenagers), or any other of the hodge-podge of businesses that used it in the 1980's and 1990's. There was even talk of it becoming the home of New Leadership Charter School in 1999.

If you're a little older, you might remember it housing Mayflower Donut Bakery, Grazio Brothers Sheet Metal, Arrow Screw machine manufacturers, Federal Tool Company, or Springfield/Berkshire Cast Products (the latter, its last tenant before briefly going vacant in the late 1970's).

If you're older than that, you might remember that it was once exclusively used as a factory for Carlson Pattern Shop, manufacturer of wood and metal pattern equipment for use in the foundry trade. That company purchased the building in 1942, moving from a location on Cass Street (which it had moved to from its original location in a garage on Page Boulevard). Although it later leased out part of the space, Carlson occupied the building until the 1960's, later succeeded by a company named American Pattern.

Here is a photo of the building showing more vitality, a Carlson advertisement from a 1952 booklet published for the city's centennial.



But you'd have to be really old in order to remember that this building was originally a Chocolate Factory.

I don't have much information on the company, but here's what I know. In 1915, a company named the W.H. Miner Chocolate Company built a factory on this site. The company was listed as incorporating in 1914 with a capital of $750,000. The company's president was Herbert L. Handy, who was also involved with the H.L. Handy company, wholesale meat and provisions, which was incorporated in 1904.

By 1921, the corporation had changed its name to the Handy Chocolate Company. It operated until 1934 and disappeared from city directories in 1935. The building sat vacant until 1942, when Carlson Pattern acquired it.

There is ample evidence that at least in later years, Handy Chocolate was owned or controlled by the Kibbe Candy Company, also of Springfield. The 1934 city directory lists Kibbe as occupying some space in the building, Handy Chocolate's headquarters was listed just a few doors down from the Kibbe headquarters. The Springfield edition of the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps verifies this:



The map gives a very detailed description of how the building was used:

First Floor: Shipping & Storage
Second Floor: Moulding & Cooling
Third Floor: Mixing
Fourth Floor: Roasting

Both Kibbe and Handy closed in the 1934-1935 timeframe.

The only significant online historical reference I could find on either company was that in 1915, a man named Frederick Hillman was listed in the book "Who's Who in New England" as the director and secretary of the W.H. Miner Chocolate Company, and that in 1926, the Handy Chocolate Company filed a petition against C.C. Mengel & Brothers in front of the US Supreme Court. The petition was denied.

Gone are the days when something like chocolate is manufactured in Springfield, but at least we still have the building. It's up for sale, too, for a cool $1.8 million. Maybe someone should send an information packet to Hershey's...

Candy is Dandy

An article written by Larry Gormally for "The Journal" of January 10, 2003, says, "Handy Chocolate Company produced chocolate coating in a plant they built on Berkshire Avenue. They produced about 35,000 pounds a year. They also produced several other chocolate products. They sold the business to Kibbe."

Perhaps totally unrelated, but curious nonetheless, is an ad from a 1912 "Recorder" (Central High School's publication?), that reads, "Meet me at Miner's. You know the place. You cannot forget that delicious hot chocolate. There is nothing served elsewhere that can beat it."

Additional comments

I'd like to archive a few comments made in the Masslive forums, because they contained some interesting information:

by Joseph1920:

Did you know that the factory also produced peanut butter tins in the 20's and 30's.

by packrat:

Handy's Chocolates were made in the large building set back from the road that was later home to Springfield Cast Products. Mayflower Donuts were also made at this location.
Now that I read the linked page...

The pattern shop was actually housed in the small stucco building near the road.

Mr. Carlson passed away a few years ago. I think he was 99 years old.

The large storehouses that were behind the factory are long gone. One small wooden garage (identified by "A" on the old drawing) survived at least into the '80s. Parts of the old rail siding still survive; however, the switch connecting it to the main line was removed around 1970.

By SQUATTY:

AS STATED THE BUILDING WAS VACANT FROM 1935 UNTIL 1942 OR SO. IT MADE A GREAT PLAYAREA FOR US PRE-TEENS WHO LIVED IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD AND PLAYED "HID AND SEEK" PLUS "ARMY GAMES" DCURING EARLY WORLD WAR II ERA. WHEN THE MAYFLOWER DONUT COMPANY WAS THERE, IN THE MID 40s WE KIDS NEVER WENT HUNGRY FOR DONUTS. IT ALSO PROVIDED JOBS FOR MANY AREA RESIDENTS.

YES MANY FOND MEMORIES OF THE "CHOCOLATE FACTORY"

Thanks for sharing these memories, it really helps add to the body of knowledge out there.

found calender

i have found a old calender from 1956 carlson pattern shop with the dec still intake . would like to no if any1 would like to display in the building thank u ..

Handy Chocolate Company/Factory

My mother told me that my grandfather worked at the Handy Chocolate Factory, probably around the 1920's. He was laid off about 1934 or so, (when he would have been about 40 or 41 yrs old) my guess is probably due to the effects of the Great Depression. From there I think he went to work at Indian Motocycle, where he worked until he retired.

Kibbe Peanut Butter

I found an eBay auction that had this photo:

I guess this must be the peanut butter referenced in the above comments, produced in Springfield.

Kibbe peanut butter

Yes, that is the peanut butter. Those tins usually seem to bring a premium price. Years ago I saw one at Brimfield priced far beyond my reach but eventually I found a second one at a slightly more reasonable price and bought it.

We were cleaning in the

We were cleaning in the cellar and came across a metal sign with a mirror in the center that advertises: Kibbe's CANDIES, FAMOUS SINCE 1843. It was made in the USA by Goodman Co., Sign and Calendar Makers, of New York. Could this be from the Kibbe Bro's Company in Springfield?

1894 Bill of ladden

A few years back i was at a flea market and came across a box of bills from various candy and confectionery companies. Among those is one from the Kibbe Brothers bills for mint wafers, S+H sgrs, 5 cents March mallows, S + H Sticks, small mould pept, adams pipsin, wrappe sticks, choc dr,and mixed creams. It has sold to C L Clark at 37,39,& 41 Harrison Ave. Springfield Mass. It has a black and white picture of the biulding and a picture of a horse drawen wagon on the top of the bill. It has Sherman Porter pres't, Edwin Mc Elwain tres, Robt R Cleeland Secy written on it. Are you intrested in this item? If so you may call me at 616 902 3675 or email me at mbatchelder69@yahoo.com

Social Worlds

Family history has it that my grandfather, as a boy, had his first job working at the Kibbe Candy Factory in Springfield, MA. The story goes that he helped make a candy called "Social Worlds" (I think that's the spelling) which today are called caramel cremes. They were first made and sold at the Eastern States Exposition (which started in 1917). Does anyone have any history about this candy made at the Kibbe Candy Factory? The year was probably around 1914 or somewhere in that decade. Thanks

Kibbe candies

I have found some ads in several 1912 Springfield newspapers for "Social Whirls." They candies were sold by different stores and one ad billed them as being made by Kibbe.

Kibbe Candy Co.

I am looking for advertisements or paper on Kibbe Candy, based out of Springfield, MA. I live about a half hour away from there but recently found an old tin sign from that co. Please contact me if you have anything like this. I would be interested in purchasing.

Kibbe Candy Co.

I have a red satin candy box. Upper left hand corner is a gold seal that has a raised printing...Kibbe Sweets that satisfy. Lower right hand corner has a gold raised banner that says "2 lbs. net weight". Bottom of the box says "manufactured by Kibbe Brothers Company Springfield, Mass." I have some "other old things" in this box and wondered if the box may be as vauluable as the stuff inside. No chocolate in there....

tin kibbe bros co peanut butter kisses sign

if interested I can send you picture. Thank you

Handy Chocolate Company

My great-grandfather owned the H.L. Handy Company and the chocolate factory. I'd love to have a tour of the building, if that could be arranged. I've never been inside any of the family's former buildings. I have several addresses for them in the Springfield, Mass. area.

Kibbe Bros.

My great uncle had his first job at Kibbe in the early 1900's as a stenographer and worked his way up to the executive level after the Spanish American War. He worked there for 16 years before moving on to managing Crystal Confectionary Co. in Burlington, VT. I will let you know if I find anything related to Kibbe.

uncle at Kibbe Bros.

What was your uncle's name, Betsey?

Kibbe Peanut butter kisses sign

I have a Kibbe Bros. Peanut Butter Kisses sign really neat looking if interested I will be more than happy to email pictures.let me know Email is nicklongo72@hotmail.com.

George A. Kibbe

George A. Kibbie, and his wife, Content were my 4th great grand parents on my maternal side. I would love to know anything about them and their legacy. Thanks in advance!

Kibbe family

I am renovating the Kibbe Mansion in Springfield & was wondering if anyone out there has any photos of Geoge Kibbe or the kibbe family? I can't find anything out there, but I hav foubf alot of material Kibbe memorabilia.

Kibbe's Peanut Butter Kisses

I have an old Kibbe's Peanut Butter Kisses bucket with handle that I am willing to sell. It once held 25lbs of the kisses - produced in Springfield, Mass. Very vintage looking - neat find!

Kibbe's container

How much are you asking?

Kibbe candy sales albums, mirrors

My grandfather H. H. Worthington represented and sold Kibbe Candy in CT (as possibly parts of MA); He was kind of an area sales representative to stores, soda fountains, etc. I have all his sales albums showing prints of different kinds of Kibbe Candy. I also have several of the Kibbe mirrors (the ...since 1843... ones...) mentioned above. Nothing is for sale....

My grandfather lived in New Milford CT but was born in Somers CT, son of Elmer W. son of James W.(the Worthington family farm was on Worthington Rd. off the Old Springfield Rd) and he and other family members are buried in West Stafford CT. I think some Kibbe's are connected to Worthingtons too, but I'm not sure. I'd be interested in hearing from anyone researching the families.

Kibbe Family

Hi! I am currently renovating the Kibbe house at 1030 Worthington Street in Springfield that was built in 1850, once owned by George Kibbe of the Kibbe candy company. I have collected various things having to do with the company - I have a mirror, too, and a bunch of other items, but could never find any photos of the Kibbe family, and have very little personal info on them. Would you happen to have any photos of George Kibbe or his family, or the house on Worthington street that you cold email me? Do you have any info on the house - like who built it? George Kibbe was originally from Somers - you may be related to that family.
I would appreciate any help. thanks! : )

Kibbe Relatives

I saw your posted (4yrs old now) on a springfield history page talking about the Kibbe Candy Co. You mentioned renovating The Kibbe Mansion and your Kibbe family family coming from Somers. I too have ancestors that came from Somers, Elisha and Amariah Kibbe.

George A. Kibbe

Hello. We have shared ancestry. My maternal grandmother, Myrtle Nichols was George A. Kibbe's granddaughter, via his daughter Georgiana Kibbe. Please email or call. Thanks. Robert, 479-387-6384.

Kibbe Candy

My great grandfather Asa W. Fay drove the promotional horse wagon for Kibbe Brothers around the 1870s. JED

Federal Tool Company, Springfield MA

I was wondering if anyone can tell me about the Federal Tool Company located in Springfield. I appears from the site that the company was located in the Handy Chocolate Company building at one time. I am most interested in their manufacturing around the time of World War II. Any help is appreaciated.

Fed'l Tool incorporated 1942

The incorporators were: Renato Moretti, John J. Figoni and Mary Jane Walters. The company joined the Chamber of Commerce in 1944.

Handy Chocolate Company

Wow I live across the street from this building for years and never knew! Just looked like an old factory building which I thought was pretty neat.

I just found a cocoa jar from

I just found a cocoa jar from the Handy Choc. Co. very cool "queen" brand mason jar with unique bale set up. I wonder what years they made cocoa. this still has some cocoa in it!

I have photos if someone

I have photos if someone could tell this non techie how to get them up here.

springfield ma history

Im so happy to finally hear what was that building.Does anybody has picture or know what was the robinson garden housing called before I heard it was homes for families whos husbands were soldiers.

The handy chocolate building

The handy chocolate building is really old. I see touchy history is seen. The book Who's Who in New England is to be purchased for reference.

rave pants

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