New Info on the Hellam Potato Chip Factory
Later Bailey’s Hellam Foods potato chip factory
Some time ago I did a series of posts on York County potato chip history. Several friends fondly remembered the Hellam factory, so I pieced information together, based on their reminiscences and what I found in city directories. I recently heard from Susan Bailey Houser and Barry Bailey, the daughter and son of the factory’s owner, Victor E. Bailey, and learned a lot more about the company. Barry even shared the old photo of the building (see above).
See below for a recap of the history of the tasty business from the Bailey family:
Victor E. Bailey grew up in York near the Bon Ton Potato Chip factory. He did chores around the factory as a youngster, worked in the plant as a teenager and became a Bon Ton chip salesman after high school. When the owner retired, three of his loyal salesmen, including Bailey, received the business. Bailey sold his share to the other two and bought a former cigar factory in Hallam, where his company, Hellam Foods Inc., produced his “Dutch Chipsies” chips and pretzels. He reportedly made the first waffle chips in the area and offered a variety of flavored chips, such as hot pepper chips, popular in bars. Red and green chips at Christmas time were also well received, but a trial of chips flavored with powdered sugar didn’t catch on.
Bailey delivered the chips and pretzels that he made, and also distributed corn curls and popcorn, as far away as Baltimore. He also had a stand at market. Barry remembers tending that stand as an 11-year-old, filling in for an employee who had to take time off for surgery. He credits that experience with preparing him for a lifetime of managing his own business.
In the previous post, I wondered why the address in the city directories for the factory was 277 East Market St., Hallam. (See photo below.) That address is on the red brick house, but the factory building, now a white-painted apartment building, is 281. Susan cleared that up when she explained that the house was sold separately from the factory.
Does anyone have a Dutch Chipsies tin tucked away anywhere? I would love to see a photo of one, as would my friends who fondly remember the aroma of frying chips wafting over Hallam.
Click here to read my recent York Sunday News column on York County chips. or click on potato chips in the categories list to the right to read all the potato chip posts.
Present site of the 1950s Hellam Foods plant
(Note on Hallam/Hellam–the borough is officially Hallam. The surrounding township is Hellam. I’ve seen the post office name as both. To add to the confusion, an address of York, PA 17406 will get your mail to the same place.)