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Bakery Baron Henry A. Dietrich

Henry Anthony Dietrich

P422 Henry Anthony Dietrich (Waterloo Historical Society Collection)

As Pancake (also known as Fat) Tuesday has passed, I can’t help but keep thinking about food… so I’ve decided to do a bit of research on the Dietrich Bakery founder, Henry Anthony Dietrich to help satisfy my hunger.

Henry was born on 17 April 1865 in St. Agatha, Ontario, the son of Mr. & Mrs. Gregory Dietrich.  He was educated at the St. Agatha Separate School and spent his early years on a farm.  He married Agatha Schweitzer on 26 May 1891 in St. Agatha.  They lived for some time in Waterloo and later  moved to Berlin in 1899, where he established a small bakery on Foundry (now Ontario) Street.

By 1906, Dietrich’s successful baking enterprise necessitated the construction of larger premises on King Street East.  A large addition to the bakery was built in 1915, which resulted in one of the largest and best equipped bakeries in Canada. Dietrich also served as president of the Bread and Cake Makers’ Association of Canada.

Dietrich Bakery Advertisement 1944

Dietrich Bakery Advertisement, which appeared on front cover of 1944 Vernon’s K-W Directory

Henry also served as a member of Berlin Town Council, Waterloo County Council and on the first Berlin City Council in 1912.  He retired from municipal politics in 1914.  In addition, he was an active member of St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church, Separate School Board and other church related organizations.

Henry A. Dietrich died on 18 April 1920 of a sudden heart attack at his King Street East home.  He was 55 years of age. Henry was survived by his wife, Agatha, one son, Robert, and four daughters, Florence, Alma, Coletta and Clara. His final resting place can be found in the St. Agatha Roman Catholic Cemetery.

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Cake, anyone?

Dietrich Bakery Window, Kitchener

Dietrich Bakery Window, Kitchener

In my family, we’ve been having a number of birthday celebrations lately and cake seems to have been a recurring menu item in my household.  A few weeks ago, as I stood in Norris Bakery on Frederick Street, waiting to pick up a birthday cake,  I noticed photographs of the Dietrich Bakery on the wall.  Curious, I rediscovered these photographs in the Waterloo Historical Society collection and wanted to share them with you.

Dietrich Bakery, Foundry Street, Berlin, 1899

P2904 Dietrich Bakery employees and horse-drawn delivery wagons in front of bakery, Foundry Street, Berlin, 1899 (Waterloo Historical Society Collection)

This is a photograph of the Foundry Street location of Dietrich Bakery in Berlin (now Kitchener), ca. 1899.

P2907 Oven Room, Dietrich Bakery, Kitchener

P2907 Oven Room, Dietrich Bakery, Kitchener

The above image is of the oven room of the Dietrich Bakery on King Street East.  Henry A. Dietrich, owner, stands in business suit to the far left.

Dietrich’s Bakery was established in January 1899 by Henry A. Dietrich in Berlin. He opened his first bakery on Foundry (now Ontario) Street.  The location of the bakery had changed to 86 King Street East in the 1901-1903 city directory. By 1917, the Dietrich Bakery was producing over 1,000,000 loaves annually.  The bakery operated for many years at King and Scott Streets, where the Eaton’s Department store was once located. Dietrich’s Bakery was known for its bread and cakes.  Henry Dietrich sold his bakery in 1946 to Weston’s, which now operates a large plant on Victoria Street.

In a 1973 Waterloo Historical Society article, Sandy Baird recalled growing up near the Dietrich Bakery and its “calorie-packed fragrance” with fond memories of the installation of their donut making equipment.

Hungry, anyone?

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