Pretzel House (1784, 223 Main Street)


Peter Kreiter, 1729-1802, the son of Michael, was born in Manor Township. He married Marie Hershey in 1750 and moved to Lititz in 1770. They had eight children.

In 1835 John Rickert (1806-1859) purchased this property. He was a teacher of advanced pu- pils in John Beck’s Academy and was a man of varied talents and high accomplishments. He was married to Juliet and had one son, Alfred.

After Julius Sturgis moved his family into this house, he erected a two-story building on the west side. In 1861 this became the first commercial pretzel bakery in America. Sturgis learned his trade while working for Henry Rauch who had a bakery and delicatessen shop opposite the post office. The original ovens used in 1820 are still in this building (1967).

Sturgis saw the possibility of marketing the tasty morsel on a large scale and soon had a large group of twisters working for him. Legend has it that the hard pretzel came about by accident. A lazy attendant left a batch “burn”, and it was found to be a great improvement. This bakery continued in operation for a nearly a hundred years.


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