The history behind the Duncan Hines

Born and raised in Bowling Green, Hines worked as a traveling salesman before his name was nationally recognized as a brand.
Published: May. 31, 2023 at 7:03 PM CDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - With the upcoming return of the annual ‘Duncan Hines Days’ celebrations, many are celebrating the iconic baking brand’s roots in Bowling Green. However, few know the history of the man behind the logo, and his beginnings as a traveling salesman.

Hines was born in Bowling Green in 1880 but later relocated. He returned to the bluegrass state as a traveling salesman in adulthood. In his travels, Hines frequently wrote postcards to loved ones, documenting his favorite stops for food and lodging and relaying recommendations to friends and family.

Over time, he was encouraged to publish these recommendations, leading to the coveted ‘Duncan Hines Recommended’ seal of approval for eateries across the country. Recommendations for safe eating on the road were in high demand due to the rising number of food-borne illnesses found in roadside restaurants.

Branching out into the boxed and canned food business with partner, Roy Park, the pair became some of the first to prioritize locally sourced ingredients for meat and dairy selections. Hines-Park later merged with Procter & Gamble, introducing the boxed cake mixes that make the name famous today.

An exhibit at the Kentucky Museum on Western Kentucky University’s campus chronicles Hines’ life in detail, from his birth in Bowling Green to his rise to fame.

Entry to the museum is free, and the exhibit is open Wednesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Duncan Hines Days, a celebration of the man behind the cake mixes, will be held June 5-11. There will be a week of events centered on Kentucky’s culinary, adventure, and entertainment scenes.