In 1895, Michael Holzbeierlein (1860-1939) opened his bakery at the rear of his house at 1849 7th Street, after having worked for several years as a foreman for the Charles Schneider Baking Company at 5th and I Streets downtown. After Holzbeierlein’s 1899 purchase of John M. Reuth’s ovens on Wiltberger Alley East, he transferred his business there, expanding it until his children took over the business in the 1930s.
As sanitation and machine-made standardization became selling points during the Progressive Era, Holzbeierlein Bakery fared well. Holzbeierlein, along with other bakers, showcased his bread-making machinery at the 1909 Pure Food Show and invited his customers to visit his bakery, where "Cleanliness, Goodness and Order" prevailed.
In 1913, Holzbeierlein hired local German architect, Julius Wenig (1872-1940) and built a new two-story bakery building to expand his operations. The following year, Holzbeierlein erected a garage to house a fleet of delivery trucks. Holzbeierlein Bakery survived war-related cost increases and the 1920 baker’s strike. In 1928-29, Holzbeierlein built two apartment buildings nearby to house his workers, which consisted of sixty employees in the early 1930s.
As a marker of its success, Holzbeierlein Bakery survived competition with several large-scale commercial bakeries for the first half of the twentieth century. Eventually, the competition proved too much, and in 1953, at a time when baking was the city’s largest processing industry, Holzbeierlein & Sons Bakery declared bankruptcy, as family-owned business could no longer compete with the larger corporations. At that time of its dissolution, the bakery had seventy employees and thirty delivery trucks still working out of the Wiltberger Street/Alley bakery complex.
DC Inventory: January 26, 2017
National Register: April 10, 2017