A Guide to the Richter's Bakery Collection, 1885-1926, 1980
William Louis and Emma Frances Solcher Richter opened the first Richter's Bakery in downtown San Antonio, Texas in 1882. The child of German immigrants, W.L. Richter was apprenticed to a baker as a child in Virginia. He moved to Fredericksburg, Texas to open his first bakery; however, that endeavor was unsuccessful. He relocated to San Antonio in 1879 and worked at a pastry chef for the Menger Hotel. He also worked nights at Solcher's Bakery, where he met his wife, the daughter of the owner. They were married in 1882, the same year they opened a bakery and residence on the corner of Laredo and East Streets (now Santa Rosa Avenue).
In 1902, the Richters replaced their old wooden facility with a two-story brick building which also served as a bakery and home for the family. In 1912, W.L. Richter expanded business again when he bought the Butter Krust franchise. Eventually, a modern plant had to be built to accommodate increased demand. By 1920, Richter had built another plant across the street, which was able to produce 110,000 to 150,000 loaves a day.
Richter, along with his sons, also entered the pastry business by forming Colonial Cakes in 1925. Utilizing the old brick bakery, the Richters were able to bake and distribute cakes and would become the second largest shipper in San Antonio. W.L. Richter died in 1940. A year later, the Butter Krust Bakery moved operations to a state-of-the-art plant on Broadway Street, with sophisticated machinery for mass production. By 1964, when Colonial Cakes moved into a new factory, Richter's Bakery had expanded to include plants in Austin and Corpus Christi.
In 1994, Flowers Industries, a Georgia-based company, acquired all of the Richter's Bakeries, including Butter Krust and Colonial Cakes factories. In 1996, Flowers Industries consolidated bread-making operations in San Antonio to the Colonial Cakes facility. By 1997, production at the Broadway facility had ceased, and the Richter's Bakeries corporation was officially dissolved by its parent corporation.
The Richter's Bakery collection consists of a booklet entitled "The Story of William Louis and Emma Solcher Richter and Richter's Bakery," written by Richter's son, Rudolf William Richter, as well as photographic material. The booklet was published in 1980. It contains a history of W.L. Richter and the bakeries he founded. Included are several photographs of the family and bakeries with captions. The history provides quotes from various family members, outlines W.L. Richter's political career and provides a listing of his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. The collection also includes four rolls of microfilm, containing advertisements for the bakery and newspaper articles.
This collection is housed at UTSA's Main Campus and must be accessed via the John Peace Library Special Collections reading room. To request access, please use the Collections Request Form.
University of Texas at San Antonio Libraries Special Collections does not hold copyright on the pamphlet's photographs. Some photographs are courtesy of the Daughters of the Texas Republic, Alamo Library, San Antonio and the San Antonio Conservation Society and are noted in the booklet.
Richter's Bakery Collection, 1885-1980, MS 57, University of Texas at San Antonio Libraries Special Collections.
Received as a donation from L.J. Richter, 1994 (Acc. 1997-11).
Processed by Jose Javier Franco Garza, Library Assistant II, June 2004.
Detailed Description of the Collection