The Sturgis family has continuously baked pretzels since Julius founded his bakery in 1861.
In 1861, at the age of 26, Julius Sturgis purchased the house at 219 E. Main Street in Lititz and opened the first commercial pretzel bakery in America. Julius lived in the house with his family and added an addition to the house for his bakery.
In 1946, Marriott Sturgis, grandson to Julius Sturgis, established another bakery in Reading, PA, called Tom Sturgis Pretzels. In 1970, they moved the factory to Shillington, PA, a suburb of Reading, where they continue to operate today.
Sturgis Legacy Today
Sturgis is still the oldest pretzel baking family in America. Tom Sturgis and his son Bruce now run the business, with other family members helping to manage both Tom Sturgis Pretzels and the Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery.
Julius Sturgis’ Historic Location
In addition to being the site of America's first commercial pretzel bakery, the building at 219 E. Main Street holds an even longer history. Built in 1784 by Peter Kreiter, the house is one of the original structures in Lititz. The sturdy stone house was built from stones dug from the street itself and timber hewed from the surrounding forest. The home has musket firing windows in the cellar to ward off attacks from Native Americans, while the interior included beautifully carved wooden panels on the staircase, heavy wooden doors on iron strap hinges, and plank pegged floors. The Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.