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Giarraputo Family


The Giarraputos are an Italian family that has lived and made candy in Denison for a century.

No Giarraputo was listed in the 1901-1902 City Directory, but in 1907-1908, Anton Giarraputo was running a confectionery at 313 West Main and living with his wife Nunzia B. at 523 East Morton Street. Louis Giarraputo clerked at the store and lived at the same address. That year, there were eighteen "retail confectioneries" listed in the City Directory, many run by people with Italian names.

By 1917, Louis Giarraputo and Felix Alfieri ran the Busy Bee Confectionery (Ice Cream Parlor and Lunch) at 407 West Main. In addition, Tony and Lucas Giarraputo were running Giarraputo Brothers at 309 West Main. Louis lived at 520 East Main Street; Rosa Giarraputo also lived there. Tony and wife Nancy lived at 523 East Main. Lucas had moved west to 1004 West Chestnut Street.

527 East Morton Street
Giarraputo House next to Candy Store.
Photo by Brian Christopher Hander, August 2010.
Used by permission

By 1920, Giarraputo Brothers had become Tony's Palm Garden, a staple on the Denison scene for many years to come. An advertisement in the 1920 Yellow Jacket (high school annual, page 63) reads: "Tony’s Palm Garden: People's Popular Kandy Kitchen; Fine Chocolates, Candies, Cream. Quick Light Lunches. Special Attention Rendered to Parties. Balcony Reserved for Special Occasions.”

Tony's Palm Garden
West Main Street
Courtesy of Tina Bruton DiToma, whose uncle Gene Bruton worked at Tony's.

"My Uncle used to work with Tony at the Tony's Palm Garden."
That's Tony Giarraputo on the left; person on right is unknown.  
Note the great light fixtures, and the sign saying "Welcome! Hot Chocolate."
See the plaid bow tie? What year would he have worn that?

Thomas B. Anderson (1904-1975) recalled in his memoir: "At 309 West Main was a confectionery known as 'Tony’s Palm Garden.' This was the finest of its kind in the town. If you had a date or even with your wife, you had to go to Tony’s."

Jim Sears writes: Lucas Giarraputo's son, Lucas T. Giarraputo, was born in Sherman in 1920, but the family lived in Denison for most of the remainder of that decade. Although he worked with his brother in the candy business, Lucas Sr. had been trained as a stonemason in his native Italy. By 1930 he had moved his family to Dallas, where he became a building contractor.

Young Lucas T. became interested in dancing, moved to New York City during World War II, and went on to a career in show business as a dancer, singer, actor, choreographer, and director. In 1948 he changed his name to Jonathan Lucas. In 1955 he was one of the directors of the original Mickey Mouse Club in its first season on TV. He died in 1991 at age 70.

Read read more about his career  

Facebook Memories

Janie Kirk McCallie wrote: I wonder if there are any of the Giarraputos around who still make candy.

Cammie Jo Renee Giarraputo Casarez wrote: I grew up watching my grandfather, Tony Giarraputo, and my father, Russell Giarraputo, make the candy. Actually the little store is still there! We make the candy as a tradition for Christmas!

Giarraputo Candy Store
500 block East  Morton
It belongs to to the large house to the east of it. This is where the family used to make their candy canes and other Christmas candy.
The family were big supporters of Raynal Elementary School, which is across the street. Mrs. Garaputo used to have a candy counter in the front hall of the large home just east of the candy kitchen. At lunch students would go to her home, ring the bell, and buy penny candy.


Pat Barnhill wrote: Nancy Giarraputo Cockrill and husband James still made candy at Christmastime just a few years ago. Don't know if they still do, but I was lucky enough to get a little bag!

Judy Nastasi Cooper wrote: I loved their soft peanut brittle. I think it was Uncle Tony who made it when I was a kid.

Jim Sears wrote: I remember those peanut patties! They cost a nickel, didn't they? The candy shop was operated by Anthony and Nancy Giarraputo out of their home at 525 East Morton. Their son, Anthony Jr., lived next door at 527 with wife Margie and daughter Sharon Kay. Sharon was my first-grade classmate in Mrs. Fisher's room. Because her grandparents operated the candy shop across the street, our class got complimentary confections on at least one occasion that year. If a time warp should ever drop me back into 1957 or 1958, that little candy shop will be high on my list of places to visit.

Brenda Duckett Larivee wrote: They used to give all the students from Raynal candy canes for Christmas every year.

Vicki Moore Harrison wrote: Oh, I remember the candy store across from Raynal. I went there every day after I walked home for lunch and ate and got a nickel and went to the candy store.

Janie Kirk McCallie wrote: That candy shop was located in the front room of the house. The peanut patties were the best thing in the world. I heard many years ago that they sold the recipe to the Lance Company when they quit making and selling candy at their house. I still think that is my all-time favorite candy and will pick up a piece at Cracker Barrel every time I see it.

Marvin Hunt wrote: I would buy the penny strips with candy dots.

Rita Hardy wrote : What relation to Steve Giarraputo? He worked for Denison Drug at one time. He was so nice! He could sure make a good milkshake.





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