The building located at 813 Congress has at various times housed a trading post, stage stop, coffeehouse, slave market, and bakery. It currently is home to the La Carafe Bar. It was built in 1860 after a fire destroyed the original 1847 wooden structure. The Kennedy Bakery has the distinction of being the oldest commercial building in Houston. It is also the only building adjoining the newly rededicated Market Square Park, which marks the location of Houston's first commercial district during the latter half of the 19th century.
Soon after the founding of Houston in 1836, John Kennedy traveled to the new city with his wife, Mathilda, and his children, John Jr. and Daniel. According to the 1860 census, Kennedy became a successful businessman who owned a significant amount of rural land as well as commercial real estate in downtown Houston. Among his diverse business holdings was a grist mill, a retail and wholesale grocery business, and even a ferry on the San Jacinto River. During the Civil War, Kennedy obtained a lucrative contract to produce hardtack for the Confederate Army and to lease property to the Ordinance Office. Though these contracts were not the financial boons that Kennedy had hoped, he remained well situated after the end of the Civil War. He continued as one of the leading citizens of Houston until his death in 1878.
After Kennedy’s death, the building and his other business holdings passed to his oldest son, John Jr, who continued his father’s businesses. Though Kennedy’s business dealings do not extend to the modern day he has left a legacy in the building that still bears his name.