William Gass and the Manor Market and Grocery

The building housing Nation House was once the Manor Market and Grocery

The imposing building on the southeast corner of Sherman Avenue and Park Road is one that is sure to pique your curiosity the first time you encounter it. I’ve been asked on more than one occasion what its story is.

The easy answer is that it is Nation House, which was founded in July, 1974. Their Web site states that it is “one of the oldest independent Afrikan centered schools in the United States and in the DC metropolitan area serving the specific needs of children of Afrikan heritage from pre-school to twelfth grade.”

The longer answer is that the building was once the Manor Market and Grocery, which was owned and operated by William Gass.

Gass, a native of Germany who came to the United States at the age of 16, began working for butcher Henry Ruppert and later Andrew Loffler, a dealer in meats and produce, before striking out on his own in 1890. By 1892 he was able to purchase the property at the corner of Sherman Avenue and Park Road where he opened the Manor Market and Grocery.

The current building was built in 1911 and designed by W.S. Plager. Upon completion, the market was located on the ground floor with a pool room located in the rear. The upper floors were the living quarters of William Gass, his wife, and their nine children.

In its heyday, the Manor Market was one of the largest retail establishments of its kind in Washington. Gass had installed the most modern fixtures and was well known for handling the best meats and groceries available.

The property is currently on the market for $2,410,000.

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4 Comments on “William Gass and the Manor Market and Grocery”


  1. […] in September 2010 I noted that the property at 770 Park Road was on the market and gave some brief details about its history. Since that time I’ve been worried that the property would be attractive to a developer […]

  2. Jim Tucker Says:

    Back in the early-to-mid-1960s, in the “Washington Post,” the Sunday “Parade” magazine offered a photo-feature entitled “Then and Now,” comparing old photos of Washington, DC locations with their then-current view. On one occasion, a picture of Gass’s market was featured, taken around 1912-14. It showed neighborhood youth outside the store, some sitting in a horse-drawn delivery wagon. My father, only 10-12 at the time, was among them. I have never been able to locate that photo since, and would appreciate knowing if someone has it accessible. Thanks!
    Jim Tucker, Helena, MT


  3. […] I’ve written previously, the building was built in 1911 and designed by W.S. Plager for William Gass. It served Gass both […]


  4. […] the building is zoned for residential use, it was originally built in 1911 as a mixed-use building with retail on the first floor and living quarters on the second. District […]


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