06/03/2012 11:33 am ET Updated Jun 03, 2012

'Sweet Home Chicago,' Elmhurst Historical Museum Exhibit Explores Chicago's Candy-Making Past (PHOTOS)

Chicago history is filled with plenty of darkness and tragedy, but the city's past isn't all about viciously destructive fires and mobster-led massacres: At a time, the Second City had a reputation so sweet, you'd get an insta-toothache.

Beginning in the late 1800s, Chicago was recognized as America's candy capital. Popular candies like Snickers, Tootsie Rolls, Butterfingers and Cracker Jack are only some of the iconic sweets that have roots in Chicago -- and many of the city's most notable candy creations are still made here today.

The city's candy-making past is the subject of "Sweet Home Chicago," an exhibit that opened last month at the Elmhurst Historical Museum. The exhibit was created by Lance Tawzer in collaboration with Leslie Goddard, PhD, who has extensively researched the subject.

The exhibit features photographs, advertisements and artifacts from the city's sweet past and even a "twisted candy challenge" allowing participants to try their hand at wrapping candy. The exhibit will also be augmented with a number of special events and lectures, including a talk with Gale Gand, pastry chef of TRU restaurant and television personality, on June 21 and a lecture on the history of Blommer Chocolate Company on July 19.

The exhibit runs through September 15 at the Elmhurst Historical Museum, 120 E. Park Ave. The museum is open Tuesday-Sunday from 1-5 p.m. Admission is free with small fees for special programs.

Check out photos from the exhibit, courtesy of the museum:



Chicago's Sweet History