When visitors travel to 95 Washington Street today, they are looking for the latest bakery to establish itself at that address—Carlo’s City Hall Bake shop, made famous by Buddy Valastro, Jr., star of a TLC cable network show, “Cake Boss.” But as early as 1910, the site hosted a different bakery, with different ethnic roots. German-born baker William Wordelmann, and his wife, Catherine, who ran the shop, began their business in a city that was seeing an increase in the Italian population, but which still had a significant population of German-born residents or native-born children born to German parents, who would eagerly seek out the Wordelmann’s nostalgic treats. The couple lived with their two children above the bakery and though we don’t have pictures of their cakes, a sign for their family business may be seen in a photograph of World War I doughboys marching down Washington Street.
In 1989, the Italian-American Valastro family, which had been running Carlo’s bakery on Adams Street since 1964 (it was originally founded in 1910 by Italian pastry chef Carlo Guastaferro), bought the 95 Washington Street bakery, incorporating part of the old name into its new title, Carlo’s City Hall Bakeshop. The bakery, and Buddy Valastro, Jr., were first featured on the reality TV series, “Cake Boss,” in 2009, and when the show became a hit—there were ten seasons—tour buses of “Cake Boss” fans flocked to 95 Washington Street to sample the bakery’s cookies, cakes, and cannolis.
Wordelmann’s was followed by Schoning’s City Hall Bakeshop, established in 1928 by another German-born baker, Herman Schoning, and his wife Irma, who also worked in the shop selling multi-tiered wedding cakes, German pastries, and black and white cookies, among other confections. Like their predecessors, they lived above the bakery. The bakeshop’s location---just across the street from City Hall—endeared it to generations of municipal workers. The affection was mutual: when the city celebrated its 1955 Centennial Parade, Schoning’s added to the festivities with a float featuring a giant, candle-dotted birthday cake.