Founded by Gordon Smith in 1899 in Mobile, Alabama, Smith’s Bakery grew from a four-baker operation into a company employing 600 staff producing baked goods throughout the entire Gulf region. In 1928, the operation opened a bakery in Pensacola’s Belmont-DeVilliers neighborhood.
A historic center of Black commerce and culture, Belmont-DeVilliers is one of two locations in Florida that are designated as stops on the Mississippi Blues Trail. With buildings dating back to 1918 situated in the heart of the neighborhood, this large industrial complex served as the community’s economic epicenter for 65 years, once employing over 100 workers to produce Sunbeam English muffins and rolls. A major part of the city's African American history, Smith's Bakery closed in 1990 because it was considered dated and obsolete for modern day bakery needs. Over the next three decades, the bakery complex’s aging buildings have continued to deteriorate.
A local nonprofit is now seeking funds to restore the complex to serve as a history and cultural center for the surrounding community. Nominators believe inclusion of the site on the 11 to Save is important to the community because of the increased awareness it will provide for the property’s restoration efforts.
For more information, contact: Home | Florida Trust For Historic Preservation