The oldest section of the building was built in 1913, expanding on Dorsch’s White Cross Bakery. Dorsch and his brothers worked at bakeries throughout the city before opening their own bakery in Shaw. Born in DC, Dorsch was the son of a Bavarian immigrant who had come to Washington in the 1870’s and sold imported German foods.
As the Dorsch’s White Cross Bakery prospered, they acquired nearby real estate until the factory grew to a huge complex that encompassed retail space, a baking plant, stables and garages for delivery wagons…
The white crosses seen throughout the building’s facade, similar to the American Red Cross’s logo, were meant to relieve fears that their bread might not be safe to eat after Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle struck fear into people that factory food was unsanitary.
Wonder Bread, which had already bought a neighboring bakery, bought Dorsch’s White Cross Bakery in 1936. It seem likely that by the 1940’s, the company made Wonder Bread primarily at the bakery next door and Hostess Cake products at Dorsch’s former bakery. The two bakeries closed in the 1980’s, when Wonder Bread moved their operations elsewhere.
Douglas Development Corporation acquired the property in 1997.