Remembering Brock Candy

Thursday, March 29, 2018 - by Terry Reynolds

In the article about Brock Candy Company, mention is made about the move from Chestnut Street to Jersey Pike.  Although they may have constructed the Jersey Pike facility in 1961, it was used primarily as a warehouse until sometime around 1980.

When I worked at the plant, Horton Corwin was in charge of quality control and Frank Brock was one of the plant managers: Many of the employees had decades with Brock Candy Company and some were second (or more) generation.

 I  worked second shift and mostly reported to Charles Gass, making hard candy (butterscotch, sour balls, peppermint starlight, peanut butter inside a hard shell, cinnamon, etc.)

The ambient air temperature in the room was extremely hot so that the near-liquid sugar and corn syrup mixture did not cool too fast. As a result the candy-makers were always covered in sweat: The sweat would flow down your skin inside your shirt and pants and pool in your shoes, which often squished when you walked.

Everything had to be kept covered in corn starch to keep the near-liquid product from sticking to the equipment. The clouds of corn starch swirling around in the room left a white crust around your eyes nose and mouth as well as any skin that was covered in sweat and exposed.

All of the candy-makers wore very large, heavy, thick gloves, but despite this most of us had fingertips which were frequently covered in large blisters: Once I had a blister that covered the   entire pad of my thumb and that blister had a blister in the center of it that protruded even further.

If you ate candy to see if everything tasted right, over time you tended to lose your appetite for sweets. Many employees who were overweight when they started working lost weight over time   (but part of that may have been from working in the sauna for eight hours a day)

Later I worked on a very automated system which produced candy corn and circus (marshmallow) peanuts as well as those famous chocolate-covered cherries.

If the equipment was humming everyone worked steadily and then, after the end of a long, hot, hard shift, dumping your powdery clothes into a plastic bag and enjoying a nice hot shower, washing off all of the accumulated dirt, it was so great to walk out into the night air feeling fresh as a daisy.

It was a challenging job, but I still have fond memories of my time at Brock Candy Company, the products we made and the people with whom we worked.

The new wing from the 1950's must have been built to withstand a nuclear explosion, because it took forever to bring it down during the demolition. I went by the site and picked up a beige-painted    brick which I still have.

All of that site and other property were acquired by the Carter Street Corporation and demolished to facilitate construction of the Trade Center, Hotel and Parking Garage, all projects in which I was also able to participate as a design team member, less than a decade after working at Brock Candy Company as a candy-maker.

The Papers Of Andrew Jackson Project Receives NEH Award To Publish 3 New Volumes

The Papers of Andrew Jackson project has received a $325,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to prepare three new volumes for publication, covering 1833 through 1835. This grant is the second highest among the 21 awarded this year within the NEH Scholarly Editions and Translations program. "This generous grant is the largest we have ever received from ... (click for more)

Chester Martin: My 6th Grade Class Picture At Sunnyside School

With many thanks to a faithful reader, I recently received a flood of old memories when he sent the picture you see here. He had found my name written with all the others on the back and wondered if that might be me. It was, and it required no further descriptions or explanations, as I suddenly became a 6th grader again for a few moments, and the year was 1946(!) WOW! I know most ... (click for more)

Authorities Say Hixson Man Shot And Killed His 15-Year-Old Son On Saturday Night; Also Killed Family Dog

Authorities said a Hixson man shot and killed his 15-year-old son on Saturday night. A report says Mike McElrath, 46, a former Hamilton County jailer, who was found naked at a neighbor's house, also killed the family dog. County deputies responded at 10:24 p.m. to 1846 Cotter Road. The residents said there was a man on their front porch who said he was "butt naked" and said ... (click for more)

Gary Douglas, 25, Shot Early Sunday Morning; Dewayne Stanley, 24, Is Arrested

Gary Douglas, 25, was shot early Sunday morning, and Dewayne Stanley, 24, was arrested.   The Chattanooga Police Department responded at approximately  3 a.m.   to a person shot on the 4700 block of Murray Lake Lane. Upon arrival, officers were able to locate Douglas, who was suffering from a non-life threatening gunshot wound.   Investigators ... (click for more)

Harold Austin Was Hamilton County's Crown Jewel

My dear friend, longtime public servant, Mr. Harold Austin, will be greatly missed. He was with the state of Tennessee and Hamilton County for many years. Doyle Ray Marler * * * Harold Austin was Hamilton County’s crown jewel.   He was beloved by generations in municipal and state government. He knew so many involved in local, state, and federal roadway ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: 90% Can’t Do Math

Friday’s newspaper headline blared, “Hamilton County Schools see dramatic growth in student performance” and that, my friend, is “fake news” at its finest. A better try might be, “90 Percent of Kids In Chattanooga Can’t Do Math.” Let’s face it: We know that a full 70 percent of 43,000 students in our public school system are not on track, this based on state test scores, and -- ... (click for more)