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Friday, August 19, 2011

Remembering Hornberger's Bakery

Jackie and I moved to New Gretna in the mid 1970's. One of my fondest memories of the town back then was Hornberger's Bakery, located in the old Knights of Pythias Hall on Route 9 in the middle of town. Unfortunately, both Hornberger's and the old building are long gone.

Hornberger's Bakery
Armin's Pizza Time Cellar in basement

It was one of the best bakeries I have ever been in. I can close my eyes and still smell the aroma of freshly baked bread, donuts, pies, and other scrumptious baked goods conjured up by Mr. Hornberger, himself.

South Jersey Advisor - October 14, 1970

I still worked in Toms River when we moved to New Gretna. It was a long commute, but there was little traffic back then. Sometimes, I wouldn't see a car on the Parkway until I got to Barnegat.

Occasionally, on my way to work, I would stop by Hornberger's to buy sticky buns for my collegues. They were my all time favorite goodie from Hornberger's. Needless to say, my co-workers always scoffed them up, licking their fingers to savor every bit of that sticky flavor.

Usually, the buns were just out of the oven when I stopped by and were still warm. Mr. Hornberger would wrap then up in a white paper wrapper tied from a big ball of string sitting on the counter. No fancy boxes for him. The old fashioned way worked just fine!

I'm sure many of our Blog readers have fond memories of Hornberger's. If so, I'd like to hear from you about you favoite goodie and/or a story you may remember.

Pete S

PS- I notice a 50 cents off coupon on the above ad for the purchase of a birthday cake. If it's anyone's birthday this week, I'll spring for a birthday cake. Just meet me at Hornberger's. The free coffee is on me, too.


  1. Pete I remember my father going in the bakery and ordering sticky buns. He would always say that he wanted his with flies(raisons).

    Jim McAnney

  2. My aunt Mae Gale Doughty worked at Hornberger's for years, used to bring us treats. Crumb cake and sticky buns yummmmmmmmm. Thanks for the memory!

    Nancy Gale, Seattle WA

  3. To Nancy Gale
    Can your Aunt Mae Gale Doughty be the same as my Aunt Mae Gale Doughty? When she was young, my Mae lived in the Atlantic City Inlet, married Thomas Doughty whose parents were Minnie and George Washington Doughty. Mae is buried in the Oceanville Cemetery on Rt 9 Oceanville NJ.
    Phyllis Sharp Briggs

  4. To Phyllis Sharp Briggs
    Yes, Phyllis, it does sound like the same person. Mae was my father James A. Gale's only sibling. Their father, James Austin Gale Sr., grew up in New Gretna, but they were born and raised in Atlantic City. I know very little of Uncle Tom Doughty's family. How are you related?

    Nancy Gale

  5. Is there more than one Doughty family in the area? I have a Mae Doughty listed as a first cousin once removed. Her parents were Correll Doughty and Caroline Stanton Adams. Caroline was a sister of my grandmother Estella Harris Adams Mathis.
    Beverly Mathis Robinson

  6. To Nancy Gale-
    Send me your email address so we won't clutter the blog with my long letter.

  7. To Beverly Mathis Robinson
    None of the names you posted are listed in my Doughty family relatives. Sorry.
    Phyllis Briggs

  8. Phyllis,

    Please send me a copy of the letter you are sending to Nancy. I would be interested in your comments and the family relationships. If I think it is of general interest, I'll post it on the Blog, with your permission, of course.

    Pete S

  9. Hello, I just saw your site about Bass River Township history and the postings about Hornberger's Bakery.

    I work for Eugene Hornberger's niece who is the daughter of Henry Hornberger, the youngest of the Hornberger brothers.

    She owns and operates the only remaining Hornberger's Bakery. We are located at 2217 Galloway Road in Bensalem Pennsylvania.

    It was so great to read how happy the bakery has made people over the years. I know the postings were not recent, but I was still happy to see them.


    Maureen Malinowski

    1. 4/28/17...I will look for this bakery.
      My boyfriend and I would take rides from Monmouth County to AC and always stopped at the Bakery. Our very favorite was the Cheesecake!!!! Never could find another make with that same pastery bottom.

  10. I'm Gene Hornberger's youngest son. I'd like to thank all of those who've post such kind words about my dad, his goods and his business. Some of my fondest memories are from my youth working with my family at the bakery. Dad passed away 7 yrs ago having a lived a full and prosperous life. I also remember Mae Doughty who was like another grandmother to me. She would sometimes drive me home from the bakery in her white dodge dart with red interior, driving entirely too slow but always getting me there safely. Love you Mae.
    Thanks again.
    Richard Hornberger

    1. Richard,

      Good to hear from you. If you have any old photos of your dad and/or his New Gretna Bakery, I'd like to hear from you via email.

      Pete S

  11. I had the good fortune of working at Hornberger’s Bakery when I was in high school in the early 70’s. Mr. Hornberger (Gene) was my first formal boss. He was a really great person to know and work for, and Hornberger’s Bakery was a great experience as my first job.

    I first met Mr. Hornberger when the bakery opened. I rode my bike to it, and asked Mr. Hornberger if I could get a job. (I always had a sweet tooth.) I must have been 12 at the time. Mr. Hornberger said I was too young, but I should come back when I was 14 and could get working papers.

    From time-to-time, I would ride my bike to the bakery and buy a donut. Once when I stopped by, Mr. Hornberger asked if I would like some left over bakery goods that were too old to sell. “Sure!” I said, and every now and then when I stopped by he would pack up some leftovers. I would be a hero when I got home. Then he asked for my phone number, and he would call if he had some leftovers for me to pick up. (He realized the family budget was tight.)

    One time when I stopped by Mr. Hornberger asked if I would like to earn a little money washing some pans. That was how it started with me do some odd jobs from time-to-time. Then, as soon as I turned 14, he hired me in what was essentially a bakery apprenticeship position.

    I spent several years working with Gene and his son George, and I remember Richard visiting every now and then. It was not only a good job, but also a nice family experience. Sometimes, Gene’s uncle would visit him, and he would also come to work at the bakery providing me with an opportunity to work with three generations of Hornbergers. Uncle Lutch (not sure of the spelling) was from the old country, Germany I believe, and he must have been in his 80s at the time. He wasn’t as neat as Gene and George, so Gene made sure I cleaned a little extra when he was there to get all of the flour up that Uncle Lutch spread around the floor. Uncle Lutch also made some bakery goods that were non-standard for Hornberger’s, which caused some consternation when they weren’t available after he left.

    What a great experience working for a really great person and family.

  12. I am seeing this post for the first time. I wonder if this is the same Hornberger family that had the bakery in Pleasantville NJ across from St Peter's Catholic Church in the 1950s?After mass,we would have to wait in a very long line just to get into the bakery. They had wonderful "cinnamon buns",fabulous cheese cake and beautiful birthday cakes.It was always wrapped with white paper and string.

  13. I worked for his brother back in the sixies (Jim Hornberger) in Philly.Knew all the hornbergers. All bakers.Unfortunately they're all gone but not the memories.