Procter and Gamble Baltimore Plant
1422, Nicholson St., Baltimore, Baltimore City
The Procter & Gamble Baltimore Plant is a compact industrial complex comprised of five major buildings spread over 10 acres. New York engineer Henry Manley’s design for the four 1929 buildings articulated a progressive corporate image for Procter & Gamble that the company maintained when they constructed the Tide Building in 1949. Major buildings on the site include the Process Building (1929), the Soap Chip Building (1929), the Bar Soap Building (1929), the Warehouse (1929), and the Tide Building (1949). The three-story brick buildings, which are all connected by upper-floor bridges, display pier and spandrel construction characteristic of industrial structures that date to the first half of the 20th century. As is common for industrial sites in continuous use, all of the buildings have been altered. In addition, Procter & Gamble removed much of the plant’s equipment when they sold the site. The size, scale, and uniform massing of the buildings easily overcomes the impact of these changes as well as the demolition of a 1929 Power Plant and a second 1929 warehouse. While the buildings’ industrial steel sash windows were replaced in the 1970s, the original form, construction, and interrelationship of the buildings can still be clearly read. In addition to these major buildings, a small brick pumphouse (1929) situated in the northwest corner of the site also contributes to the significance of the complex.
The Procter & Gamble Baltimore Plant, constructed in 1929 and expanded in 1949, provides an important reminder of Baltimore’s strengths as an industrial location in the early 20th century. As a sophisticated, major national corporation, Procter & Gamble was drawn to Baltimore because the city’s transportation infrastructure, Atlantic seaboard location, and long-standing industrial culture offered competitive advantages for delivery of raw materials and distribution of products. Its Locust Point location on the Northwest Branch of the Patapsco River demonstrates the importance of cargo ships to industry during the first half of the 20th century. The size of the plant and the timing of its opening in the early years of the Depression made the plant an important local source of employment and economic stability. The Procter & Gamble Plant is significant as a facility emblematic of the synergy fueling Baltimore’s industrial development in the early 20th century and as a local center of economic strength during the early years of the Depression.