Where Wrigley (and, part of the whole history of chewing gum itself) got its start

Photo: Nathan Kensinger

Sometimes you have a blog of a blog of a blog, and a rabbit trail that led through yesterday’s Gothamist website led to a truly great site of photography and history from Nathan Kensinger (a documentary filmmaker, photographer, location scout and more who explores “The Industrial Edges of New York City”on his blog), who recently discovered on Rosebank, Staten Island not only the first Wrigley Building, but a treasure trove of gum history in the process.

You’ll want to explore his blog (and not just the Wrigley part) and the wonderful array of photographs of the abandoned building (which may be transformed into a luxury condo) along with the rich chewing gum history contained within those walls, including the story of an 11-time Mexican president, gum inventor Thomas Adams (tires are involved) and Blackjack gum, as this excerpt from his site reveals:

The Wrigley Building is an abandoned 1917 chewing gum factory in Rosebank and part of Staten Island’s historic chewing gum heritage. Modern chewing gum was invented on the island with the help of General Santa Anna, the former eleven-time President of Mexico. In 1869, while living in exile on the island, he sold a ton of Mexican chicle to local inventor Thomas Adams. Adams hoped to make rubber tires from the substance. Instead, he created chewing gum. By 1884, he had introduced the world’s first flavored stick of gum – Black Jack – which opened the door for future chewing gum kings like the Wrigley Brothers.

 Many thanks, Nathan, for the privilege of including this significant piece of gum history…and the evocative photographs (which include the one above, which features a view from the inside of the abandoned building) that track the Wrigley building’s glorious and shambling demise.

One Response to “Where Wrigley (and, part of the whole history of chewing gum itself) got its start”

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