Old schoolhouses are among the most commonly preserved buildings on the Door Peninsula, and Uncle Tom’s Candies, like the Ephraim offices, was once a school.
“We know the last year there was a class in here was May of 1954,” says Heather Laughlin, who owns Uncle Tom’s with her husband Jim. “There were two classrooms upstairs; downstairs was the coatrooms and girls and boys bathrooms.” After the school, known as the Newport School, closed, farmers would store their potatoes in the building, until Tom Collis bought it in the early 1960s. After cleaning it out for about a decade, he opened a candy store in 1971, and ran the store until he passed away in 1990. The Laughlins bought the building, located on the corner of Europe Bay Road and Timberline Road, in June 1997 and made some major additions.
“We about doubled the place in size,” says Heather, who now lives with her husband and three children in the building’s second story.