Old Washington

By James Croggon, The Evening Star, September 4, 1910 [p. 13]

Over one hundred years ago, before the general and municipal governments of Washington had been established here, the inhabitants on the sparse tract laid out for the city all needed bread, but not all were inclined to knead and bake. Consequently there were some few bakeries established.

It was not in the province of every family to successfully make its own bread, and the facilities were crude. The Dutch oven was used by some, but when perfectly baked bread and cakes were needed most families called on the services of the baker.

Many of them made up their cakes and bread at home and had the baking done in the regular oven. It may be conceived, therefore, that, especially on the approach of holidays and festive occasions, the bakers' ovens were in demand.

It was not rare that the oven was run night and day. The old ten plate stove, which was much in use in the first half of the century, was taxed by some families.

Law Governed Bread Making.
Bakers' bread was the subject of the corporation law shortly after the city was chartered. By the law of 1806, all wheaten bread offered for sale was required to be made of inspected superfine, fine or middling flour, without any admixture of meal or any other flour; the single and double loaves should weigh in proportion to the price of superfine flour, the city register being charged with the duty of fixing the weight each month, in accordance with the table.

This provided that when the price of superfine flour was from $4 to $4.50 a barrel the single loaf should weigh twenty-seven ounces, and the weight when the price was $9.50 and $10 was ten ounces. The price then for a single loaf was "fip," 6 cents, this being the smallest piece of silver coin then in circulation.

Sometimes, therefore, the loaves were diminutive. In 1816 and 1817 but few bakers made and sold more bread than was necessary to support life.

From the failure of crops the small quantities of flour sold brought from $15 to $20 per barrel. As for cakes, they were out of the question.

Few bakers then thought of making up more than a few hundred loaves daily. There were baked by the dozen loaves, that number being the capacity. These loaves were the perfectly "square" and oblong or "brick" variety mostly, but now and then round loaves would be supplied.

The bulk of the trade was over the counter, but there were bakers' stands in the markets at which, with the bread, cake, mostly plain, was sold, and prior to about 1820 few wagons were in use by baker or butcher. It was one of the grocers' commodities and was usually carried to the stores by basket or by wheelbarrow.

Gradually what was not sold at market or at the bakeshop reached the consumer over the grocer's counter. The rule was that the baker would not supply parties living convenient to a grocery store.

First Bakery Established
Probably the first bakery to be established in the city was that of Nicholas Travers on the north side of the Avenue east of 13th street, about 1800. In the twenties it was conducted by Elias and Jacob Travers, and in the latter part of the thirties was taken by George Seitz for a few years.

Soon after C. W. Patterson was in a like business on the north side of I street between 19th and 20th streets. From this bakery came the McKeldens, who were in business on 7th street long after.

In 1815 Thomas Havenner built a residence and bakery on a small part of the present site of the Havenner Baking Company's plant on C street between 4 and 6th streets, later adding cracker making. In the Navy Yard section James Friend early settled on 7th street between K and L streets, and in the twenties was at 11th and L streets, at which time James Danford was at the first location.

Philip Hines established a bakery on H street west of 18th in the twenties, which in the thirties was occupied by George Krafft, and the latter's descendants are engaged in the business on the southeast corner of the Avenue and 18th street.

William Coleman was on F street between 13th and 14th, and Hugh O'Neil was on the Avenue between 21st and 22d streets. Jacob Wineberger was on 26th near H street, and George F. Schaffer was on East Capitol street between 1st and 2d in the twenties. In 1835 J. G. Seufferle was one the post office site, D street between 11th and 12th, and remained until 1839, when he built a residence, with bakery, on the northeast corner of 6th and F streets, where he remained till 1851.

John Aigler was afterward in the business on D street. In this decade, John F. Krafft and Andrew Noerr were on F street between 11th and 12th in partnership, and later the former established himself at the corner of 12th and F streets and the latter at the southwest corner of 11th and E streets. Jacob Wunderlich later was on 7th street between L and M streets southeast, where he conducted a bakery in the civil war times.

Bakeries Seventy Years Ago
In the next decade, the forties, George Seitz had moved to the northeast corner of 12th and I streets from Travers' old stand, and later to 10th street north of New York avenue, whence he moved to New York avenue between 10th and 11th streets and was succeeded by his son, John F. Seitz, by whom the business was carried on till about ten years since. Another son, George Seitz, is yet in the trade here. John C. McKelden, afterward prominent as president of the Second National Bank, had established a bakery on 7th street below E; his brother, W. P. McKeldon, was on 6th street between G and H, and Mrs. Werden was on the square above.

On the Island was Cyrus Wineberger on the east side of 11th between E and F streets southwest; John Horning was on the north side of East Capitol between 1st and 2d streets; John Schaffer was on the north side of M street between 9th and 10th, and Samuel Magee was on 7th between G and H streets.

David G. Horning was on the west side of 7th between M and N streets. In the forties T. Callahan was on the north side of F street between 6th and 7th, and Jhon Lockey on 7th street between L and M. Mrs. Friend was on 4th street between L and M southeast, and C. Hagan was on the north side of F between 13th and 14th streets.

By 1850 delivery wagons had increased in numbers and there was a friendly rivalry between the bakers, each striving to increase business. Most of them served bread routes by wagon, a number requiring several, and there was the square, brick, twist or French, round and close or Irish loaf to suit the varied tastes.

Christian Hagan had moved to the east side of 18th between H and I streets, and D. G. Horning to the north side of F street between 2d and 3d; James Miller was on the west side of 11th between G and H; John Moran on the west side of 6th street between H and I; Louis Sauer, on the east side of 7th street between D and E. T. Stevenson on the north side of F between 14th and 15th; Louis Tarlton on the north side of E street between 9th and 10th, and Mrs. Visser on the west side of 13th street between E and F.

W. Todschinder was on the south side of Maryland avenue between 2d and 3d streets northeast; Mrs. St. John on the east side of 4th between K and L southeast, and G. W. Hughes had moved over from Georgetown to 7th street between M and N streets northwest.