202-216 Main Street was built in two sections: 1892 (202-212) and 1898 (214-216).
Although it has been slightly modified over the years , its Italianate influenced details
are still evident in the rusticated brick pilasters , hooded segmental window arches,
denticulated stringcourse, and corbeled brick parapet. It is a good example of an early
warehouse/light manufacturing facility.|
National Biscuit Company grew out of an earlier St. Joseph company, Sommer, Richardson &
Co. ,the oldest manufacturer of crackers and confectionery in the city. National Biscuit
Company was one of the largest and most successful manufacturing enterprises of St. Joseph, and was the
maker of the famous Uneeda Biscuit, Uneeda Jinger Wayfer, Uneeda Milk Biscuit, Uneeda Graham Wafer,
Iner Seal and Red Cross Brand crackers and candies. The factory covered the entire block on Main Street
between Francis and Jules Streets (202-224 Main Street) and employed over 600 people.
The plant had its own electric light plant, refrigerator plant, and telephone system
Frank L. Sommer owned a candy factory and a wholesale bakery
In 1873, the Sommer-Richardson Candy Factory was established
at 202-224 Main
In 1876 the F.L. Sommer & Company bakery was located at 112 South 3rd
Sommer began using baking soda to leaven its wafer thin cracker. His cracker was initially was called the Premium Soda Cracker
His cracker would later be called "Saltines" because of the salt component
His invention quickly became popular and Sommer's business quadrupled within four years.
In 1890, F.L. Sommer merged with other companies & formed American Biscuit Company.
After further mergers, in 1898, it became part of the National Biscuit Company (Nabisco)
The Holiday Inn Hotel currently occupies the 112 South 3rd address.
Celex Products currently occupies the original building at 202-224 Main