Shaw and the Wonder Bread Factory


Shaw and the Wonder Bread Factory

As I got off the metro station in Shaw, I saw a relatively new, modern looking apartment complex with fitted glass on the outside.  When examining the apartment complexes, I saw young, mostly white people coming in and out of the apartments who were either getting on their bikes or going down the escalator to take the metro. After taking a short walk down the street,img_0924 I took a left on S Street and there was the Wonder Bread Factory.  At the top of the building the letters spelled out “Wonder Bread” in red  and “Hostess Caimg_0912ke” in blue. There was a white cross on the top of the building’s S Street facade which is still there from the building’s first use for Dorsch’s White Cross Bakery (Douglas Development). Originally built in 1913 (Douglas Development), the building has gone through many renovations since its conception. The current building combines brick and glass and retains its original look unlike a lot of the other buildings in Shaw which have been torn down for a more modern look. On both sides of the building there were alleyways with the one on the right being bigger than the one on the right. A normal bystander would think that the building is a bakery because the building doesn’t advertise its use for office space openly. Right outside the building, there was an assortment of bikes which looked to be the employees’ worimg_0923king inside. As I walked up the steps to enter the building, there was a place to swipe a card for employees and a door bell with a speaker and a microphone attached above. I rang the doorbell and told the lady at the other end that I was here for a school project. She opened the door and I saw people dressed in business casual working at their desks. The lady was very welcoming and I told her I was studying how Shaw has changed over time and how the building fits into cont
ext with the histoimg_0891ry of Shaw. She said that I could schedule an appointment and I could check out the whole building on a tour. I said would email her and I left. I wanted a place to eat at so I picked Shaw’s Tavern which was nearby. When I got to the restaurant there was an influx of noise, the people in the restaurant were so lou
d that myself and the waiter had to be shouting at each other to hear each other. It was happy hour and there were many young people enjoying themselves whilst getting a break from work. The word “Shaw” in big letter was on a wall next to bar. Because the restaurant was relatively expensive, there were many people dressed in business casual. As I was leaving Shaw and getting on the Metro, there was a historical marker showing the impacts of the 1968 riots and how they destroyed so many of the business and impacted so many lives in Shaw. The sign showed vivid pictures of crumbled buildings and people panicking. Across the street from the historical marker was a mural of Marvin Gaye, a son of Shaw (Cauterucci). This mural was on the side of an old townhouse and was a tribute to not only Marvin gaye, but the rich culture of the African American community in an effort to preserve it.

When the environment changed around me the people would change. The strange thing about Shaw and the surrounding area is there were a mix of modern looking buildings and older town houses which didn’t complement each other. The Wonder Bread Factory has survived for many years and has seen the historic riots, the drug era, and the present day gentrification which is changing the literal landscape of the area. The people who have recently started working and  living in Shaw are young and educated and work for a wide variety of firms (Wilson); from technology startups to catering businesses. Although I saw many people who looked to artist_20-_20aniekan_20-_20713_20s_20st__20nw-1-0be in their 20-30s I walked across many older homeless people as well. If the walls of the Wonder Bread Factory could speak they would recount many different kinds of people and a changing landscape. Once abandoned for over 20 years, the building reflects the changing landscape of Shaw and the struggles placed on the African American community because of Gentrification.

Works Cited

Developers Seek to Put the ‘Wonder’ Back in the Wonder Bread Factory

Wilson, Jonathan. “Developers Seek to Put the ‘Wonder’ Back in the Wonder Bread Factory.” Wamu 88.5. American University, 20 July 2012. Web. 3 Oct. 2016,

The Wonder Bread Factory Case Study

“The Wonder Bread Factory Case Study.” Douglas Development Corporation. Douglas Development,  Web. 3 Oct. 2016,

Marvin Gaye Mural

Cauterucci, Christina. “Marvin Gaye Mural in Shaw Is Being Built Over.” Washington City Paper,

Amy Austin, 20 Aug. 2014,


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