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Hamilton on Gratiot: An Interview with Bakers Charles Kemerer & Bill Taylor

"A bakery that became a Saginaw staple for more than 70 years will soon be closing its doors.

The ovens at the Hamilton Home Bakery will be turned off for good at the end of the year.

‘When you ask, 'oh you're from Saginaw?' and you say, 'oh do you know Hamilton Bakery?' People get a big smile on their face," said Sara Hyde, holiday helper.

It has been in the Saginaw community and in the same family for generations.

-From: CBS Detroit, “Michigan Bakery Closing its Doors After Over 70 Years, December 22, 2021.


Above: Charles E. Kemerer, early 1940s.*

If you have driven down Gratiot recently, you have undoubtedly noticed the absence of Hamilton Home Bakery. Located at 1030 Gratiot, the business had been a Saginaw tradition for generations. Recently, the Castle Museum staff recorded an oral history interview with Charles Kemerer and his friend and colleague Bill Taylor who owned the Cottage Bakery.

Mr. Kemerer’s father opened his bakery in 1945 and it remained in the family until it closed. During the interview we discussed the history of the two bakeries, being a baker, families, and community.

Above: Barb and Nancy Kemerer.*

The history of the bakery was summarized in a March 18, 2014, Saginaw News article:

We’ve had customers that have been with us 30 or 40 years” said Chuck Kemerer, owner of the bakery at 1030 Gratiot.

Kemerer is the third of five generations that have worked in the bakery, which hasn’t always sat at its current location.

The bakery’s original location explains the name of the business. Hamilton Home Bakery was originally located at 118. N. Hamilton but moved to the Gratiot storefront about 35 years ago when the city decided to turn the block into a parking lot.

And, of course we did ask for a recipe to share as a recipe feature. It turns out that it’s complicated to reimagine recipes that were designed to make large batches on a smaller, home baker scale.

Above: 1) Chris Kemerer with Charles Kemerer 2) Early 1960s 3) Barb Kemerer 4) Customer and Nancy Kemerer.*

*All images were taken in Hamilton Street Store.

The Recipe: Hamilton Bakery's Pecan Crunch Cookies

2 lbs brown sugar

2 ½ lbs pecan halves

½ pint egg whites

Preheat oven to 350. Mix all ingredients together. Drop approximately a tablespoon of the mixture onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake for 12 minutes. Let cool on pan, otherwise they will be difficult to move.


· This recipe works well with walnut pieces as well. You could even do a mix.

· You can cut down the recipe. I did a half batch and made larger cookies

· I let my cookies cool on the pan for a bit then moved the parchment/liner to a cooling rack to cool completely.

· The cookies will not hold together well until cooled.


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