Kennedy Bakery - Houston, Texas
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member JimmyEv
N 29° 45.786 W 095° 21.716
15R E 271624 N 3294872
Quick Description: The interior of this narrow, two-story brick building, believed to be the oldest building in Houston on its original site, hasn’t been altered much since 1847. It’s now a wine bar, La Carafe.
Location: Texas, United States
Date Posted: 9/25/2006 4:11:04 PM
Waymark Code: WMRCJ
Published By: Groundspeak Charter Member BruceS
Views: 107

Long Description:

John Kennedy, an immigrant from Ireland, traveled through New Jersey and Missouri before settling in Houston. In the fall of 1842, he opened a small trading post on this site. The trading post burnt in 1847, and was replace with the current narrow building. Among the regular customers was an Indian chief known as ‘Old Mingo.’

Kennedy became wealthy in Houston before the Civil War, and even wealthier during the war. He built a steam bakery, a gristmill, a retail grocery store, and purchased a large number of slaves to farm thousands of acres he had acquired in Harris County.

During the war, his near-by Kennedy Building, located where his son-in-law’s W.L. Foley Building was later built, was leased as an arsenal to the Confederacy and the bakery was contracted to supply the Confederate Army with hardtack. Kennedy also made money by running cotton through the federal blockade of Southern ports. Following the war, Kennedy made the mistake of assuming that his vast acreage would be worthless without slaves, and he disposed of it.

From 1873-1932, the Kennedy Bakery Building housed a pharmacy. In 1970 the building became a wine bar, La Carafe. Despite the changes in use, the building has undergone very little alteration since being built. The interior has walls of plastered brick and a concrete slab floor. The original steep stair way, so narrow it doesn’t meet current fire codes, leads to the second floor. The rear courtyard originally contained the cistern and privy for the establishment. The exterior of the east wall, once connected to an adjacent building, is exposed, giving hints of the building’s construction.

The building is said to be haunted by the ghost of a former barkeep, causing sudden breezes, cold spots, creaking, and exploding glasses and bottles. If you want to take a peek inside, try to spot the ghostly barkeep, or just relax in the dark, cool space, the bar is open daily from 1pm to 2am.

Main Street/Market Square Historic District
Next: W.L. Foley Building | Previous: Market Square Park

Texas Historical Commission, "Main Street/Market Square Historic District"
Texas Historical Commission, "W.L. Foley Building"
Texas Historical Commission, "Kennedy Bakery,"
all available at Texas Historical Atlas

Street address:
813 Congress Street
Houston, TX USA

County / Borough / Parish: Harris County.

Year listed: 1979

Historic (Areas of) Significance: Event

Periods of significance: 1850-1874

Historic function: Specialty Store

Current function: Bar

Privately owned?: yes

Hours of operation: From: 1:00 PM To: 2:00 AM

Primary Web Site: [Web Link]

Secondary Website 1: [Web Link]

Season start / Season finish: Not listed

Secondary Website 2: Not listed

National Historic Landmark Link: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
Please give the date and brief account of your visit. Include any additional observations or information that you may have, particularly about the current condition of the site. Additional photos are highly encouraged, but not mandatory.
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Recent Visits/Logs:
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