Jonas Bake Oven Up and Running Again at West End Fair

GILBERT — An oven from the 18th century is back up and running in Monroe County thanks to the work of the Polk Township Historical Society.

The 65,000 pound oven is now up and running in Gilbert. Its original home was outside the Jonas Hotel, built back when George Washington was President.

Today it sits at the West End Fairgrounds.

“I’m very excited. I was very excited to see fire in it finally. It’s been a long, long time. We moved it in 2010,” said Polk Township Historical Society member Pat Foucault.

Newswatch 16 was there in 2010 when the Polk Township Historical Society had the oven moved, a massive excavation process, and then several years of getting it properly in place at the West End Fairgrounds.

Members have now fired it up twice.

‘We got a fire going, we had smoke coming out of the chimney, and fired it a couple of times before the start of the fair to make sure everything was working OK,” said Ernie Foucault of the Polk Township Historical Society.

It’s an addition to the West End Fair that’s drawing in a lot of attention

“It’s amazing how they take an old pile of stone and have it making some of the best bread in the area, so yes, it’s a lot of fun,” said Robert Coleman of the West End Fair.

By the time of next year’s fair the historical society plans to have enough fresh baked bread to sell to people stopping by right out of their historic oven.

“We hope to have enough of our members of the historical society trained and certified to actually pull the bread out and sell it as the fair is going on,” said Ernie Foucault.

So far, wheat loaves have been baked, and members are planning to have plenty of bread on the menu for next year. They say the possibilities are endless.

“We may do some flatbreads, whatever we get certified to do and whatever seems like fun we’ll do,” said Pat Foucault.

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