Milton in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Industries of Milton
Undoubtedly, the most famous family in Milton's industrial history was the Boiardis — brothers Hector, Paul, and Mario. The Chef Boiardi Food Products Company was established in Milton in 1938. In an effort to help non-Italian Americans pronounce his name, Company president Hector became the world-renowned "Chef Boy-Ar-Dee."
The three Italian immigrants were from Piacenza, Italy. Hector Boiardi came to America at the age of seventeen. He conceived the idea of the commercial food-packing business in his restaurant, Il Giardino d'Italia, which he opened in 1924 in Cleveland, Ohio. In 1929, when patrons began taking his savory spaghetti sauce home with them in paper cartons, the chef conceived the brilliant idea to manufacture his spaghetti dinner on a large-scale, so that a greater number of food lovers could enjoy it. He rented a tiny room above his restaurant, and with a small supply of raw materials and packaging supplies, the chef began his spaghetti business.
About a year and a half later, it became necessary to move to a larger kitchen and hire several assistants to fill the overwhelming number of orders from Cleveland
The Milton Chamber of Commerce and the Milton Borough Council were instrumental in working with Boiardi to bring his operations here. Purchase negotiations moved quickly, and after acquiring the former Susquehanna Silk Mill, Boiardi established the Milton plant. Meanwhile, the entire valley was canvassed for large-scale food growers. Meetings were held in school buildings and community halls throughout the area to negotiate agreements between growers and Boiardi’s representatives. Contracts for over one thousand acres of tomato land were signed.
Hector Boiardi was president of the Chef Boiardi Food Products Company. His brother Paul was vice-president and brother Mario became Hector's assistant in charge of kitchens. Carl Colombi was secretary-treasurer.
Within a few years, business skyrocketed, then during World War II the company was awarded contracts by the federal government to produce rations for the armed forces. The plant was given the Army-Navy E award for war production efforts. After eight years of business in Milton, in early 1946, Hector, Paul, and Mario sold the famous Chef Boy-Ar-Dee plant to American Home Foods, a division of American Home Products. ConAgra now owns the Milton operation.
The brothers became millionaires from the sale of the business and moved on to other ventures. Hector was instrumental as fundraising
Erected by Milton Historic Downtown Walking Tour.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Agriculture • Charity & Public Work • Industry & Commerce • War, World II. A significant historical year for this entry is 1938.
Location. 41° 0.952′ N, 76° 51.314′ W. Marker is in Milton, Pennsylvania, in Northumberland County. Marker is on Arch Street (Pennsylvania Route 405) just north of Mahoning Street (Pennsylvania Route 642), on the right when traveling north. Marker is second from the left of four interpretive panels in a small pedestrian plaza along the sidewalk. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Milton PA 17847, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Milton Car Works / ACF Industries (here, next to this marker); Samuel J. Shimer & Sons / Milton Manufacturing Co. (here, next to this marker); Other Industries of Milton (here, next to this marker); On This Site Stood the Second Stone House in Milton (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Rotary Centennial Park (about 500 feet away); The West Branch of the Pennsylvania Canal System (about 500 feet away); The Founding of MiltonRotary Centennial Park (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Milton.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Milton Historic Downtown Walking Tour
Also see . . .
1. Ettore Boiardi (Wikipedia). Touting the low cost of spaghetti products as a good choice to serve to the entire family, Boiardi introduced his product to the public in 1929. In 1938, production was moved to Milton, Pennsylvania, where they could grow enough tomatoes to serve the factory's needs, which reached 20,000 tons of tomatoes per season at peak production; they also began growing their own mushrooms on location in the plant. Boiardi continued developing new Italian food products for the American market until his death in 1985, at which time the Chef Boyardee line was grossing $500 million per year for International Home Foods. (Submitted on July 29, 2021, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
2. Chef Boyardee (Wikipedia). At its peak, the company employed approximately 5,000 workers and produced 250,000 cans per day. After the war ended, Boiardi had to choose between selling the company or laying off everyone (Submitted on July 29, 2021, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
Credits. This page was last revised on February 6, 2022. It was originally submitted on July 29, 2021, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 517 times since then and 127 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on July 29, 2021, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.