Some may remember E-Z-Bake flour, as it was a grocery staple in the 1960’s. By that time, part of the company that produced the popular baking product was over one hundred years old.
In 1820, Revolutionary War Veteran Isaac Wilson moved from Kentucky to the new state of Indiana and settled in Indianapolis. In 1821, he built a flour mill on the banks of the White River, where the IUPUI campus now stands, and built his first house on the land which is now the Indiana Statehouse. He died a few years later in 1823, and was buried in the Old Plague Cemetery, or the Wilson Family Cemetery, located where the Van Nuys Medical Building is now on the IUPUI campus. (also buried in the cemetery was Robert Barnhill, for whom Barnhill Drive is named) After Wilson’s death, his son in law, Samuel Patterson, ran the mill, which eventually became the Acme Milling Company.
Some time later, in 1881, George T. Evans partnered with D.A. Richardson to operate another mill. Richardson died in 1892, and Evans changed the name of the company to the George T. Evans & Son Company. The George T. Evans & Son Company began producing E-Z-Bake Flour in the 1890’s. On March 4, 1909, the George T. Evans and Son mills and the Acme Milling Company merged to form the Acme-Evans Company. Unfortunately, George T. Evans did not get to see the rise of the newly merged business venture, as he died in November 1909 in a streetcar accident in Chicago. George’s son, Edgar, took the helm of the company, with former president of the Acme Milling Company, Arthur Gillet as vice president. It seems Gillet died in late 1910, around the time this ad ran in the Indianapolis News. IPS school #11 was later named the Edgar H. Evans School in Edgar’s honor.
In October 1917, the Acme-Evans mill at West Washington Street and Blackford Street, now part of the grounds of the White River State Park, was destroyed by fire. The following year, the Acme-Evans Company built a nine-floor mill made of concrete and steel, the largest in Indiana at the time. The company flourished through the years, but hit hard times and was forced to liquidate in the 1980’s due to a grain embargo. Wilson’s Corn Products continued to produce E-Z-Bake Flour through the early 1990’s. In 1994, the mill built in 1918 was destroyed, despite legal action attempting to halt the demolition. In 2006, John Cory bought Wilson Corn Products and E-Z-Bake and created a new company, called Prairie Mills Products.