I have always called Seattle’s Dexter Avenue “Dextrose Avenue.” That’s in honor of one of its major attractions: the Hostess Bakery.
Since at least 1940, the beige, concrete building — with its streamlined, “moderne” curves — had been a mainstay of the originally industrial Cascade neighborhood (now the posh-ified and rechristened “South Lake Union”). It had its company name in big, red, backlit block letters visible from Aurora Avenue North.
(Similarly, its sister brand Wonder Bread had big neon letters up on East Yesler Way, drawing attention to Seattle’s least “whitebread” neighborhood. The sign now lives atop the apartment complex that replaced the Wonder plant.)
The Hostess building had a curved, grand entranceway at Aurora and Republican Street, though the doors were replaced with glass bricks some time after the factory stopped giving public tours. It had the company’s onetime logo, a silhouette of a lady’s face in profi le within a heart, built into its exterior grilles. It had big, gas-tank-like intake tubes for corn syrup and confectioner’s sugar.
Day and night, it enveloped the surrounding environs with the glorious smells of sugar, flour, egg whites, chocolate, etc., being poured, mixed, baked and packaged. These smells could be smelled as far away as the School of Visual Concepts, up the next block.
At one time, they separated eggs and re-ground flour by hand — before the treats fully became the automated factory products they’d always appeared to be.
As a child during the early years of kids’ TV, I remember the live, local kids’ hosts performing commercials, with the big, cutaway props of Hostess Cup Cakes, Twinkies, Tiger Tails, etc. (My favorites were always the Sno Balls. Even
. HOSTESS, Page 15