Boston is home to a lot of history. Paul Revere’s famous ride, the battles of Bunker Hill, Concord and Lexington and the Boston Tea Party all took place in or near the city. In addition to the stuff you learned about in a textbook, Boston also has a history as a candy-making hub. In fact, The Batch Yard is housed in a former Charleston Chew manufacturing plant.
The Charleston Chew was invented by Donley Cross, a former actor, who founded the Fox-Cross Candy Company in 1920 with his friend Charlie Fox. They launched with the Nu Chu, but the company didn’t achieve fame until it rolled out the Charleston Chew in 1922. Named for the popular dance craze at the time, the original Charleston Chew candy bar was made up of vanilla-flavored nougat covered with milk chocolate.
Company records indicate that candy production was taking place in Cambridge in the middle of the 20th century. The brand changed hands in 1957 when Nathan Sloane bought Fox-Cross. This is when things really took off.
Sloane moved production of the Charleston Chew to Everett, opening the factory at the site where The Batch Yard now stands. He automated production and worked to build the brand through advertising. Sloane introduced new flavors, like chocolate and strawberry, and it was under his ownership that people first started keeping their Charleston Chews cold to create “Charleston Crack.” People now swear by this method of freezing the candy bars and smacking them on a hard surface to create bite-sized pieces.
By the time Sloane sold the company in 1980, he had doubled production. Fox-Cross changed hands numerous times after that and when Nabisco bought the brand in 1985, it moved Charleston Chew production back to Cambridge.
The former Charleston Chew factory in Everett stood vacant for nearly three decades until The Batch Yard sprang up. The new housing development features luxury apartments, a roof deck, pool, special pet care facilities and other top-of-the-line amenities. And perhaps best of all? The building’s sweet history.