The Frank L. Sommer “Cracker” House

St. Joseph
Buchanan County

This Italianate style home was built in 1882 just a few blocks north of Frank Sommer’s bakery. The saltine cracker is known to have been created at this bakery earning the house its local moniker, the “Cracker House.” Mr. Sommer’s bakery, the American Biscuit Company, later merged with the New York Biscuit Company to become the National Biscuit Company, or Nabisco.  Nabisco now makes more than 35 billion crackers each year – enough to circle the equator 44 times.  The Cracker House has been vacant for a number of years and has suffered greatly from neglect. It is currently owned by an absentee landlord and the property is on St. Joseph’s dangerous properties list. A local non-profit group called The Cracker House Project is hopeful that they can gain ownership of this historic home and renovate it as a house museum and for other public use.

Listed in 2012 and as a watched property in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018.

Update: In 2019 the Cracker House was unfortunately finally demolished by the City of St. Joseph after its’ most recent owner failed to follow through with taking care of the building.

One thought on “The Frank L. Sommer “Cracker” House

  1. What s shame this house could not be preserved I am the great great granddaughter of Fronk L Sommer and his wife Carrie Pinger. I do have an original photo of the house- I assume since the building no longer exists no one would be interested – I did give a copy to the group that attemped its restoration. Does the candy factory still exist

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