Many North Adams’ residents are familiar with 12 Eagle Street as only where Jack’s Hot Dogs exists, but before that and into the 1920s, there were multiple businesses and people who occupied the spaces of 12 Eagle Street before it was just one location. In the 1910 business directory of North Adams, many businesses are listed as residing in 12 Eagle Street. Before Jack’s even existed there was a Book Binder under the name of North Adams Blank Book Co., an Arts Goods and picture frame producer owned by R. E. Schouler, an optician named Guilford, and Uncle James provided typewriters and supplies from 12 Eagle as well. In 1917, the year Jack’s opened, there still was not a listing for Jack’s Hot Dogs in the business directory. W.H, Morrissey, a plumber, had his information in the business directory, R. E. Schouler was still selling art goods and photo supplies, and E.H Babcock was operating out of the building as a locksmith. In the 1921 directory, Belding Sign Shops and Jack’s Hot Dogs joined the list.
Boasting that they have the same grill they have used since first opening, Jack’s Hot Dogs has been a family business since 1917, Despite the immense changes that have taken place in North Adams over the past 100 years, they continue to remain a treasured part of the community. After World War II Jack’s was able to boast of a returning veteran eating over 50 hot dogs in a contest. Jack’s also held a hotdog eating contest between representatives from then then North Adams State College (currently Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts) and students from Williams college in 1985. This was an event that brought attention to Jack’s, and local college students into the community.
The setup of Jack’s has remained very similar throughout the hundred years it has been in business but there have been challenges. In the early months of 2000, Jack’s was looking to move to Main Street, North Adams. After deliberating, they eventually ended up keeping the original location and opening a second one in Adams, which later closed.
Jack’s has weathered a hundred years in North Adams, which is an accomplishment for any business, but doubly so in a town that has seen better years for business. The current owners, who are direct descendants of the original owners, plan to keep Jack’s open for as long as they can.