The Candy Factory Building in Manassas, Virginia has a unique history. As a candy factory, of course, and then as an Arts Center.
In the late Spring of 1900, C. A. S. Hopkins from Ohio, founded the Hopkins Candy Factory in a building in downtown Manassas, and following a fire in 1905 which destroyed most of the structures in the area, the brothers purchased a lot on the corner of Battle Street and, for some strange reason, a street with no name at a bargain price and built their factory.
Approximately 25 employees made simple candies like stick candy,
rock candy, peanut bars and coconut bars, to the tune of 5-10 tons daily. The building was located across the street from the train station, so salesmen had easy access to transportation for toting sample cases to general stores throughout the region. The top quality yet affordable candy quickly became a regional favorite and the business thrived.
In 1916, the brothers decided to stop production and, likely, retire on their success, and the building was sold to a grainery/mill business. After that, it housed a Southern States Cooperative, and then a tire store.
In 1998, the tire company donated the building to the City of Manassas. Carol Merchant Kirby, a local philanthropist and partner of the company that had owned the building, came up with the idea of converting it into a performing arts center.
Restoration, under the direction of the Manassas Museum System, began in August of 2001. In late October of 2002,it opened as the Center for the Arts at The Hopkins Candy Factory. The complex now includes the Merchant Family art gallery, a theater, and studio classroom facilities. It is the centerpiece of Manassas' growing art community.
Another tucked away museum worth a visit in Virginia!
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