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Biscuit Company
Hitchner Biscuits

Broken Biscuits

The Hitchner Biscuit Company
West Pittston, Pennsylvania    •     August 13, 2009
Photos by Beau Bosko

Posted on April 7, 2010, from Fayetteville, Arkansas

"Many moons ago," he said, "a quarter could get you a bag of broken cookies.  They sold 'em in a little room just off the loading dock."  Roy Speece sat on the steps of his front porch, pointing directly across Ann Street at the derelict building.  "I'd walk over there after school."

The Hitchner Biscuit Company baked its last cookie in the winter of 1951, ending a run of 42 years in the four-story baking factory.  "I've spent 70 of my 72 years in this town, and it's always been there," Roy said.  "The last place in there, they made plastics.  But it's been empty for some time now."

Despite its derelict state, the grand old structure hasn't brought ruin to the neighborhood, Roy said.  "West Pittston's a good area.  Not as rough as some of the places in this part of Pennsylvania.  It's one of your nicer towns." 

Roy said he worked hard all his life, retiring only a few years ago.  "My first job was at Firesigns Grocery as a delivery boy," he said.  "I worked at a gas station for a while, but most of my life I worked as a mechanic at Walsh Steel."  Roy still coaches mini-football.  "I've been coaching the little guys for 36 years."     

Roy's dad fought in the First World War.  He was a Doughboy.  "There's a picture of him in his uniform in the living room," Roy said.  "His name was Samuel, but everybody knew him as Roy.  He worked at Miner's Bank for 50 years.  At least that's what it used to be called.  They changed the name so many times, I don't know what it was called when he retired."   


West Pittston sits on the right bank of the Susquehanna River.  The town of 5,000 is a few miles south of Scranton.  Pennsylvania Highway 92 runs alongside the biscuit factory.

Roy Speece
spacer Roy Speece at Age 72
West Pittston, Pennsylvania    •     August 13, 2009
Roy sits on his porch on Ann Street in the late afternoon.
Ann Street

 D E A D    L I N K :

lilbat 'Right stuff baked in' — but the link is a cooked goose!
We found a report in the Pittston Sunday Dispatch News about the Hitchner Biscuit Company's history and dreams of rehabilitation for the old bakery building.  When we published this little feature in April of 2010, we linked to the article, and the link flew right to it.  Alas, when we checked the link in September of 2012, it was as dead as a cooked goose.  "We're sorry, the page you requested cannot be found," the news web stated.  OK.  Bet you a bag of broken cookies they can find that old page for a fee.

sign facing the highway

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 Ebenezer Bowles

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

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