Friday, January 16, 2009

Follow the Jell-O brick road to the Jell-O Museum

Fan mail from a visitor (click to enlarge)

LeRoy, New York is a cute little town about an hour east of Niagara Falls that resembles Bedford Falls from "It's a Wonderful Life." This is the town where Jell-O, that yummy, wiggly, punchline of a desert, was born, and LeRoy has created a major eccentric roadside attraction in its honor: The Jell-O Museum. In an elderly brick building behind the LeRoy Historical Society are numerous artifacts and exhibits that take you on a magical historical journey: its humble experimental beginnings as a set gelatin in 1845, on to its climb to popularity enhanced by advertisements illustrated by Norman Rockwell and Maxfield Parrish, and up to its current status as the Bill Cosby-endorsed dessert legend of today. Jell-O was bought by the company that became General Foods and up until 1964, was a huge employer of the nice folks of LeRoy. Then they pulled out and never came back, leaving LeRoy feeling like a dumped loyal spouse. How could they do that to such a sweet town? Never bitter, the museum puts on a cheery face and will welcome you with a smile and a wiggle and tell you of their glory days. It's especially popular with visiting school groups (see the letter above). Here's their website:

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