Photo Gallery | Looking Back: Pasta plant in place of Memphis City Hall
Memphis City Hall is a powerhouse for decision making, but before the actual building went up in the 1970s — another organization used the space's lot and was focused on another kind of production, noodles.
Ronco Foods was founded in 1919 by John S. Robilio, Sr. as a retailer of imported and specialty foods.
With his partner Thomas A. Cuneo in 1929, the Robilio & Cuneo Company began manufacturing Macaroni and egg noodles at their manufacturing plant at 70 Adams Street, according to G. Wayne Dowdy of the History department of the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library.
Then after decades, the company went under some changes.
"In 1961, the company was renamed Ronco Foods when they sold the Adams property to the City of Memphis and moved to 800 South Barksdale. By the 1970s the company was manufacturing 13,000 tons of macaroni and spaghetti per year with annual sales totaling $186.7 million," said Dowdy.
Dowdy referred back to an article from the Commercial Appeal, also published in 1961, that said, at the time, the city of Memphis owned a three-story noodle factory without any noodles in it.
The city purchased the plant for $395,000, and eventually tore it down.
Memphis City Hall's current building completed construction in the 1970s.
Ronco Foods remains a national brand and manufactures a variety of pasta noodles.
The Memphis City Hall building has recently had conceptual designs done for refurbishing the building - but nothing has been planned as far as renovations.