Building series: the Wonder Bread factory—now the Skverer Yeshiva

Building series: the Wonder Bread factory—now the Skverer Yeshiva

Site: Formerly bread factory / now Skver yeshiva

Location: 97 Heyward Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211

This is a really interesting example of how many phases Williamsburg has been through in its past. Once upon a time, the Skverer Yeshiva in Williamsburg on Heyward Street was home to America’s Wonder Bread factory. They used to make Twinkies, too, as both Wonder and Hostess were owned by a baking conglomerate called Continental Baking.

Twitter user TrafficAdvisory writes,

I grew up in Williamsburgh Brooklyn when #hostess and #wonderbread were there on Heyward Street and the shop on Middleton Street free stuff.

According to Shulem Deen, a former Skver Hasid, when he was in this Yeshiva there was still the enormous conveyor oven from the Wonder Bread factory. Says Deen

When I was teenager here (1988-1990), a couple of us found a hidden door in the basement area, which led into an *enormous* space, dark and empty except for a long, dusty, rusted conveyor oven. It was like something I’d never seen before, and it amazed us to stumble upon this relic of an iconic American breadmaking factory, right underneath our ‘bes medrish’.

It would be great to get a picture of the oven if it is still there, a relic of the past, transitioned into such a different environment!

  • Steve Taranovich
    Posted at 09:50h, 26 February Reply

    I worked a there at Continental Bakeries in 1968-69 summers on school (NYU Engineering Bronx NY) break.

    I was with the sanitation crew, sweeping and cleaning floors, sanitizing machinery, and sometimes helping out on the assembly line putting bread into wrappers on a conveyor belt, all behind blazing hot industrial ovens baking bread

    • Frieda Vizel
      Posted at 19:07h, 26 February Reply

      awesome, thanks for sharing. What was the area like?

  • Steve Taranovich
    Posted at 16:50h, 20 March Reply

    I took the train there and I had to walk 5 blocks to get to the Wonder Bread facility. My walk took me through a Hasidic neighborhood and a Puerto Rican neighborhood
    I got off the elevated train at about 1 AM in the morning, but without incident.

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