Fans of the Wild West are familiar with most businesses on the quintessential Main Street of Old West Town, USA: Livery and Blacksmith, Land & title office, Hotel or boarding house, Restaurant, Jail, Mercantile, Saloon, Brothel, a Bathhouse, a Laundry (particularly on the West Coast where many Chinese immigrants opened these businesses out of necessity), maybe a doctor’s office, a dentist (if the town-folk were lucky), and more.
Add to this list: a bakery.
This photo of the 400 block of Oak Street (Minok, IL) was taken in the 1890’s. None of the buildings shown are still standing. On the corner is the McGrail Hotel. Other businesses in the block were a bakery and the OK Saloon.
Why did bakeries Prosper?
Men and women alike gladly paid reasonable prices for freshly baked bread, a staple of the Western diet. Few had the resources to bake bread in anything but a cast iron Dutch oven in a bed of coals, and some certainly did. Bakeries fronted the capital necessary to purchase large wood- or coal-burning iron stoves or build the kind of traditional brick ovens originating in Europe.
Bakeries specialized in large batches of bread of different varieties, cookies, cakes, pies, and other time-consuming perishables more expensive to make on a small scale.
My soon-to-be released title, The Drifter’s Proposal, is set in my fictitious town of Mountain Home, Colorado in mid-December, 1900.
The baker’s man is home for Christmas…
Spinster Adaline Whipple runs the family’s business, Whipple Bakery, since her father’s demise three months ago. She’s stunned by a surprise mortgage her father made with a bank in Denver City six months before he died. Now that the loan is sixty days overdue, the big-town banker wants his money. If the Whipples can’t pay, he’ll evict them. Little does he care Christmas is one week away and the widow and daughters have nowhere to go. Adaline’s sure the handsome drifter Malloy’s proposal of… marriage?… won’t do her any good. But his mere offer to help feeds the attraction she’s felt for him, and before she knows it, she trusts the one man who can break her heart.
This 25,000 word (100 paperback pages) novella is available now within the Silver Belles and Stetsons anthology by ten award-winning and bestselling authors. Release date, November 2, 2015. The single-title novella, with the cover pictured, above, is also available as a stand-alone novella, with a release date of November 16, 2015.
Copyright © 2015 Kristin Holt, LC
Kristin Holt is an author of Sweet (clean, wholesome) Historical Romances set in the 19th Century American West. Some are Mail-Order Bride, some Romantic Comedies, some Christmas novellas— all about love’s triumph over the odds.
She’s an active member of Pioneer Hearts and loves hearing from readers. Please stop by and say hello!
Kirstin can also be found on the Pioneer Hearts Bookstore online.