History of the Holmes Bakery (Streets of Washington)

John DeFerrari's picture

From the Streets of Washington blog. Full article with many illustrations is available at: http://www.streetsofwashington.com/2020/06/the-holmes-modern-bakery-one-of-dcs.html

The Holmes Bakery, whose slogan "Holmes to Homes" was familiar to many Washingtonians in the first half of the 20th century, was one of the city's most successful family-run businesses. The company capitalized on growing consumer trends favoring store-bought bread and home delivery to create a thriving business that now stands as a unique reminder of the city's commercial past. 

Holmes Bakery postcard from the 1910s (author's collection).

James Holmes (1832-1907) was born in Philadelphia, one of seven children. As a boy he worked in his father's Philadelphia store. In 1865, shortly after the Civil War ended, Holmes, his father, and four of his brothers all moved to Washington, where James opened a grocery business. He became a successful businessman, well-liked, and involved in the city's turbulent Reconstruction-era politics. "He was one of the best-known men in Center Market and had a great many friends there," according to his 1907 obituary in The Evening Star.

- John DeFerrari