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Maryland's National Register Properties



Photo credit: Jennifer Goold, Betty Bird and Associates, 08/2003
Baltimore & Ohio Locust Point Grain Terminal Elevator
Inventory No.: B-1367
Date Listed: 12/23/2004
Location: 1700 Beason Street, Baltimore City, Baltimore City
Category: Building
Period/Date of Construction: 1924-1956
Description: The Baltimore & Ohio Locust Point Grain Terminal Elevator, constructed in 1924, is a concrete grain terminal elevator complex. Among the largest early-20th century grain terminal elevators in the world, the Locust Point elevator represents the enormous scale of Baltimore's grain export market through the mid 20th century. Located a the North Locust Point Marine Terminal (now owned by the Maryland Port Authority), the elevator rises at the edge of the northwest branch of the Patapsco River between Fort McHenry and the dense, 19th and early-20th century working-class Locust Point rowhouse neighborhood. The interconnected 220'-tall concrete workhouse and 105'-tall concrete grain bin structure are the major structures on the site. The workhouse is a 220'-high, 15-story, 4 x 15 bay concrete structure with a rectangular footprint and a flat roof in fair condition. The first story and top six stories have huge window openings with industrial steel sash. Pilasters mark the bays. Many first-story window openings are infilled. Many of the upper story sash are missing lights. Window openings on the northwest facade were altered for machinery removal and now have metal roll-down doors. A 1978 two-story metal structure is located atop the workhouse. The building has four ancillary appendages: the dryer, dump shed, drip shed, and conveyor. The grain bin structure, also built in 1924, is a 105'-tall 13 x 14-bin, concrete structure with a near-square footprint and a flat roof in fair condition. The structure is comprised of bins (16'-diameter cylinders and interstices) that stored grain sorted by type and quality. The cylindrical shape of individual perimeter bins is visible. A two-story cupola with steel industrial sash caps the structure. Industrial steel sash are missing many lights. Minor 1924 buildings and structures on the site include the brick and concrete office, welfare building, repair shop, transformer house, and dust house. A c. 1970s pump house and truck shed also stand on the property. Although the site and the structures remain intact, all machinery was replaced in 1978. Location and setting, including the relationship to the marine terminal, piers, Patapsco River, railroad tracks, and adjacent residential neighborhood and industries remain. Significance: The Baltimore & Ohio Locust Point Grain Terminal Elevator is historically significant at the local level for its association with transportation and commerce in Baltimore. Completed in 1924 with a 3.8 billion bushel capacity, it represents the enormous scale of Baltimore's grain export market in the 20th century. Transshipment of goods through the Port of Baltimore was a key component of the city's industrial economy. The Port of Baltimore was among Baltimore's four largest exports. Three competing railroad companies--the Baltimore & Ohio, the Pennsylvania Railroad, and the Western Maryland Railroad--operated grain terminal elevators on the waterfront, all of which were among the largest in the world. In a trade in which efficiency was key, the B&O Locust Point Grain Terminal Elevator distinguished itself as the fastest grain elevator in the world when completed. Grain shipment through Baltimore reached its peak in 1956; over 102 million bushels were shipped from the Port in that year. The banner year, however, proved a last gasp. In 1957 grain export fell to about 58 million bushels, beginning a general downward trend. In 1961, Chesapeake & Ohio had completed their takeover of Baltimore & Ohio, and the Cleveland-based company concentrated its efforts on the transportation of coal. Consequently, they sold the elevator to Peavey Grain (later ConAgra), a grain dealer, thus ending the era of rail control at the Locust Point Elevator.

 

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