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Maryland's National Register Properties



Photo credit: MHT File Photo, Undated Photo
Poole and Hunt Company Buildings
Inventory No.: B-1007
Date Listed: 7/2/1973
Location: 3500 Clipper Road, Baltimore, Baltimore City
Category: District
Period/Date of Construction: 1853
Description: The complex of fieldstone and brick buildings which comprise the former Poole and Hunt Company plant occupied a site of approximately 20 acres. They were erected in 1853 and enlarged periodically as the need arose, although no record has been found of an architect or of the exact dates of each new building. The brick office building, however, appears to have been erected around the turn of the 20th century. A 1915 description published by the company mentions a modern fireproof office with draughting rooms, an iron foundry, a machine shop, an erecting shop, a smith shop, a pattern shop, extensive stables for its own teams and an ample building for the storage of patterns. The company also had its own railroad siding and all necessary tracks through the grounds and buildings, as well as its own locomotive for shifting and hauling raw material and finished products. The iron foundry was equipped with cupola for melting and cranes for handling castings. All the equipment was the most modern of its kind. A devastating fire on September 17, 1995 destroyed much of the fabric of the machine shop. Significance: The extensive works of Poole and Hunt, located at 3500 Clipper Road, produced machinery and castings for a world-wide market from 1853 to 1889. This partnership succeeded Poole and Ferguson, founded in 1843 on North (now Holliday) Street in downtown Baltimore, and was continued as Robert Poole and Son from 1889 to 1903, and Poole Engineering and Machine Company thereafter. Robert Poole (1818-1903), trained in local machine shops of cotton mills and railroad locomotive works, pioneered in the design and manufacture of looms for weaving cotton duck and of machinery for textile, grist, flouring, and saw mills. His workshops manufactured a standard line of presses, shafting, pulleys and hangers, machine moulded gearing and transmission machinery, portable and stationary steam engines, and steam boilers of all dimensions. It was, however, operating machinery for Chicago and New York City cable railways, patented devices such as Ebaugh’s mineral crusher, and the Leffel double turbine water-wheel, the Vons Schmidt pumping dredge, and the casting of the largest sand wheel in the world, 65’ in diameter, built for the Calumet and Hecla Mining Company, which because of their on-the-job performance in the early days of the application of mechanical power brought Poole extensive comment with descriptions and pictures in both foreign and U.S. technical, scientific, and trade journals. The iron columns supporting the present (Thomas U. Walter) dome of the Capitol in Washington, and those of the custom house in New Orleans were furnished by Poole and Hunt.
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