The O Street Market is historically significant because it is one of the three remaining nineteenth century public markets in the city. It exemplifies the large, functional, well designed market buildings erected in the District of Columbia under the massive public works campaign headed by Alexander "Boss" Shepherd. It also represents a distinctive commercial structure with Victorian details. Except for the decade following the 1968 riots, the O Street Market has served continuously as a market for more than a century.
After the Civil War, Washington DC sought to replace its small town image. To do so, it laid sewer and water lines, graded and paved streets, planted trees, and removed unsightly nuisances like the city's older public markets. Those older markets were replaced by well-designed, brick markets like the O Street Market built in 1881.
In 1974, the O Street Market was part of a two block redevelopment project, the first of major commercial development plans for the Shaw Urban Renewal Area. The market was partially restored and rehabilitated by the Redevelopment Land Agency under the auspices of the District of Columbia's Department of Housing and Community Development. In 1977, the O Street Market, along with the entire block bounded by 7th, 9th, O, P Streets was sold to the entrepreneur James C. Adkins for the commercial development of the land and further rehabilitation of the market. The O Street Market formally reopened on February 23, 1980.
DC listing: July 24, 1968
National Register listing: April 28, 1995