RVA Legends — Louis Bromm’s Bakery

RVA Legends — Louis Bromm’s Bakery

A look into the history of Richmond places and people that have disappeared from our landscape.

[RVCJ03] — showing Bromm’s bakery at 516 East Marshall Street, circa 1903

AKA, “Virginia Family Bakery”
516 East Marshall Street
Built, circa 1866
Demolished, circa 1985

The baker from Rauschenberg, Germany.

(LOC) — Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Richmond (1905) — Plate 3

Louis Bromm’s “Virginia Family Bakery,” 516 East Marshall street, has 17 employees, three delivery wagons, and is one of the largest establishments here. It consumes 75 barrels of flour a week, which is at the rate of $50,000 business a year.

[RCVJ03] — bakery interior, showing Crawford Mfg. Co.’s Blender, Sifter and Weighing Outfit

Mr. Bromm, the proprietor, has followed the trade here since 1858, and has been established, on his own account, since 1866. He makes a specialty of the baking of ornamental cakes to order.

[RCVJ03] — bakery interior, showing Duhrkoph Patent Ovens

Mr. Bromm owns his place of business, a fine three-story brick building of modern architecture, 25 by 160 feet in area, situated in the heart of the city, in the business quarter.

[RCVJ03] — bakery interior, showing Corby’s New Process Dough Mixer
Born in 1841, Louis Bromm immigrated to America in 1858 at the tail end of a nearly 30-year migration from Germany that began in the 1830s. The reasons why varied.

Some came seeking to escape political unrest that followed in the wake of Prussia’s forced unification of the Lutheran and Reformed churches, and Lutherans wanted to live where they could practice their own religion freely.

[RVCJ93] — Louis Bromm
Others came looking for opportunity due to the collapse of the Industrial Revolution in Germany. Many were farmers troubled by agricultural reform, overpopulation, crop failure, and lack of land. (Needham Public Schools)

[RCVJ93] — showing Bromm’s Bakery, circa 1893
The 1860 US Census lists a Lewis Broom living in the household of baker J.D. Briggs, and it is theorized that this is where Bromm may have learned his trade. During the Civil War, he served with the 1st Battalion Georgia Sharpshooters, then in 1866, he married Louisa Mary Carolina Graser and opened the Bromm Baking Company on Marshall Street the same year. There he specialized in breads and fruitcakes until his death in 1907. The business remained active through the mid-1900s until it was sold. (Ancestry)

March 2019 — looking toward the former location of 516 East Marshall Street

There is no confirmed date as to when the building was pulled down, but the construction of the Sixth Street Marketplace in 1985 may have had a lot to do with it. Today, it’s a parking garage.

(Louis Bromm’s Bakery is part of the Atlas RVA! Project)


Print Sources

  • [RVCJ93] Richmond, Virginia: The City on the James: The Book of Its Chamber of Commerce and Principal Business Interests. G. W. Engelhardt. 1893.
  • [RVCJ03] Richmond, Virginia: The City on the James: The Book of Its Chamber of Commerce and Principal Business Interests. G. W. Engelhardt. 1903.

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