At its November 17th hearing, the DC Historic Preservation Review Board voted unanimously to include Dorsch’s White Cross Bakery (also known as the Wonder Bread Factory), 641 S Street, NW, as an individual landmark in the DC Inventory of Historic Sites. The nomination was co-sponsored by DCPL and Douglas Development Corporation (the building’s owner).
The White Cross Bakery is a complex of buildings constructed between 1913 and 1936. The two most prominent sections of the building front S Street, and were built in 1915 and 1922. Although they were designed by different architects, they share the same materials, treatment, and details, and the same Craftsman-influenced “Industrial” aesthetic. The other sections of the complex located to the rear are more utilitarian and visually subservient to S Street facades.
Peter Michael Dorsch (1878-1959) was born in Washington, DC, and by 1904 had established the White Cross Bakery on 7th Street. Within a decade, Dorsch began to expand his bakery business by building, the first of several buildings along Wiltberger Street and alley that would become the current bakery complex, which is clearly identified as the White Cross Bakery through the white terra cotta tile crosses in the centered pediments on S Street.
A concept design for future adaptive use of the landmark including a mix of office and retail uses, is in development.