Centre Market, once the largest market in Washington, D.C., opened to the public in 1871. By 1900, it was the center of a vibrant commercial life in Washington, D. C. Close to a railroad station and streetcar lines, sitting between the White House and the Capitol Building, the market was a crossroads for all of Washington, D. C. After years of success, it was torn down in 1931 to make way for the National Archives. Undaunted, many of the businesses relocated and created a new venue, Union Terminal Market at 4th Street and Florida Avenue NE, an area close to the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Freight Terminal and highways to Maryland.
Union Terminal Market opened to the public in February 1931. The market featured large, airy, well lit indoor stalls for 700 vendors, cold storage vaults, elevators and a public café. Vendors sold meats, fish, dairy and produce six days a week.
In 1962 however, the city banned the outdoor sale of meats and eggs which essentially killed the farmer’s market foot traffic. A new indoor market was built in 1967 (the building which is now the revitalized Union Market).
Wholesale operations continued to grow in the broader market area until the 1980s when the aging industrial spaces began to show signs of wear and tear and many of the original merchants left the area for modern distribution centers and supermarkets in the suburbs.
More than 35 independent merchants and purveyors of food and drink operate within Union Market proper, alongside a unique mix of small businesses, nationally recognized retail brands and highly rated restaurants located throughout the District. La Cosecha, a contemporary Latin American marketplace and culinary embassy located in the District, is designed for community and conversation—carried by a philanthropic mission to foster business education throughout Latin America. An open-air rooftop bar and green space with stunning 360-degree city views distinguishes Union Market District as a destination like no other.