Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Ward Baking Company and Tip-Top Bread

Above: 1916

Above: a 1915 photo; building was brand new

The Ward Bakery (makers of Tip-Top bread) began operating in 1916 at the intersection of 4th Avenue and the railroad in the Ampere section of East Orange. A 1917 Moody's report said the "factory" could turn out 120,000 loaves in ten hours.

Above: photo was taken near the end of 1915 soon after the bakery was built

In 1911, George S Ward, president of Ward Baking Company, and a team of architects returned from a tour of Europe with plans for two great baking plants for the New York City area. One was built that year in the Bronx, the other in what is now Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. The buildings' most impressive physical feature was the tile work, which, if polished, would make the factory shine. That's how Mr. Ward wanted it, to make the building "the snow-white temple of bread-making cleanliness," as it was described by a bakery publication at the time.The fa├žade was made up of glazed white terracotta tiles and graceful Grecian-inspired arches ran the length of the buildings, front and back. The East Orange building was under construction in 1914 with the same architectural design and in 1921 a $500,000,  5-story addition was 
constructed extending the 1914 building. 

In the 1950's, and probably earlier, Stockton students were walked over to Ward's as a field trip in the 1st or 2nd grade. Each student was given a miniature loaf of Tip-Top bread at the end of the tour.
Above: The Ward Bakery building can be seen in the distance in this view from the 1920's

The Ward Bakery closed in 1979 but the buildings were reopened in 1999 as Bakery Village after being redeveloped as a mixed use of apartments, community center, and commercial space. The 1911 Ward complex in Brooklyn was demolished about 2007 despite efforts to save it as a historic structure and the successful 1999 renovation of the East Orange complex was used by opponents of the Brooklyn demolition in their ultimately fruitless fight to save the Brooklyn buildings.  

Below left, 1915; Below right, circa 1995

Below: after 1999 redevelopment

Below: 1947 Tip-Top bread baseball cards


  1. Great pics, I Mike Watson lived at North 13th street Newark and at 165 Park Ave 1956 till 1965! Also I lived at 16th street EO. Went to OLAS.

  2. I used to take the train from CT to NYC and see the smokestack that read Ward's Bread. My great great grandfather was Robert Boyd Ward who began Ward Baking Company and brought his half-brother George S. into the business around 1890. The family book we have states that George S. became president of Ward Baking after Robert's death in 1915 and he continued to grow the company (in 1912, Ward Baking was capitalized at $30 million). My great grandfather was Howard Boyd Ward, Sr., who began his career in the manufacturing division of Ward Baking Co. before becoming an investment banker. Howard Boyd Ward, Jr. was my grandfather, and his son Arthur Boyd Ward is my father. Anyway, thank you, thank you for all the wonderful photos - took me down memory lane! Best, Kat Ward

  3. my dad was a route sales for tip top from 1945 till they closed in 1977

    1. My dad worked there from 1958 until they closed and I have a photo of a family picnic of employees from 1964

  4. Is the Ward Bakery building in Newark,NJ still standing if so what is address I hauled for them in 70s from Chicago to Newark.