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Maryland's National Register Properties



Photo credit: Fred B. Shoken, 01/2002
Mount Washington Mill
Inventory No.: B-1027
Date Listed: 5/4/1990
Location: Smith Avenue , Forge Avenue & Falls Road, Baltimore, Baltimore City
Category: Building
Period/Date of Construction: 1808-1923
Description: The Mount Washington Mill complex comprises 18 brick, stone, and metal structures, historic and non-historic, located along the Jones Falls in the Mount Washington section of northern Baltimore City. The industrial complex is hemmed in by the Jones Falls Expressway, the Jones Falls, and Smith Avenue. All the buildings are characteristic of industrial design from the early 19th century through the mid 20th century. The wide range of buildings include: a 3 ½-story vernacular stone mill with a slate roof, dormer windows, and belfry; 1- and 2-story mid-19th century factory type buildings with metal, multi-pane hopper windows; mid-20th century pre-fabricated metal and steel warehouses; and 2 early brick structures with corbeled brick work connected to a smokestack. The 19th century buildings are clustered around the original stone mill and are connected to it via several 20th century buildings. Four freestanding large 20th century buildings stand to the south and west of the cluster of 19th century buildings. An overhead crane structure is connected to the two westernmost buildings. A single road runs through the center of the complex adjacent to the early cluster of buildings and turns along the western and northern edges of the complex near the Jones Falls Expressway. The early mill race and railroad siding are no longer evident. Two smaller structures are scattered along the periphery of the site housing chemical tanks and a guard house building is located on Smith Avenue. The complex is fenced with chain link along Smith Avenue and the western boundary. Five of the 16 resources contribute to the historic character of the resource. Significance: The Mount Washington Mill complex is historically significant for its role in the industrial development of the Piedmont region of Maryland during a transitional period in the early 19th century which saw the dominance of manufacturing over agriculture. First used as the Washington Cotton Factory, the Mount Washington Mill is the earliest surviving cotton manufacturing facility in the State of Maryland and is also believed to be the third oldest extant cotton factory in the United States. Although some other early mill structures survive from this era in Maryland, this is the earliest cotton mill. Conceived and built after Jefferson’s embargo of foreign trade in 1807, it represents the first major attempt in Maryland to manufacture textile goods. Later in the 19th century, in a period of industrial and urban dominance, it became part of a chain of mills in the Jones Falls Valley owned by William E. Hooper and Sons, the leading manufacturer of cotton sail cloth in the country. In 1923 it was converted into the Maryland Bold and Nut Company, one of many representative firms of the diversified industrial economy of Baltimore City.

 

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