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Maryland's National Register Properties

Photo credit: MHT Files, n.d.
L. Grief and Bros., Inc. Manufactory
Inventory No.: B-5140
Date Listed: 12/19/2007
Location: 901 N. Milton Avenue, Baltimore, Baltimore City
Category: Building
Period/Date of Construction: 1914, 1916
Architect/Builder: Architects: Frank & Kavanaugh
Description: The L. Greif & Bro., Inc. Manufactory is a three-story brick and steel industrial building constructed c. 1914-15, that features an expanse of multi-light steel windows, a metal cornice, and sawtooth monitors. Its north, south, and west elevations are lined with brick bays delineated by unornamented brick pilasters. Typically, bays feature large multi-light steel windows at floors two and three in even fenestration; floor levels are distinguished by simple brick friezes. The first floor windows have been infilled with brick and modern, narrow single-pane windows. The 11-bay west facade features three entrances, one at either end and one in the center bay. The entries are accessed via short brick or concrete stairs due to the building's raised basement. The sidelights and transom lights at the north and center entries have been boarded. The west elevation's northern half of the raised basement features infilled square window openings with masonry block lintels. The southern portion of the raised basement at this elevation is faced in masonry block that wraps around at this level of the south elevation. The three-story north and south elevations feature three brick bays delineated by unornamented brick pilasters and stories distinguished by simple brick friezes. The north elevation features an additional narrow bay at the east end that encloses one of the building's stairtowers. An egress door provides access at the stairtower's first floor. First-story window openings in both the north and south elevations have been infilled; t hose at the south feature brick infill with modern narrow single-light windows. Second and third story openings feature multi-light steel factory windows on both elevations. The building's roofline features a short parapet that extends beyond the building's metal cornice. As a result, the building's eleven sawtooth monitors are not visible from the street. A two-story, (raised basement level and first floor), brick addition of 1921 is located off the east elevation, obscuring that side of the original building. The addition features a metal rolling garage door on its north facade, with infilled windows to the east of the door. The addition's east elevation runs eight bays, delineated by metal downspouts and vents. The lower portion of this facade has been painted gray. Each bay features large rectangular infilled window openings with masonry block lintels at the second story (first floor) level. The south elevation of the addition, like the others, is brick with large rectangular infilled window openings and masonry brick lintels. It appears that the addition also featured window openings (now infilled) at ground (raised basement) level along both the south and east elevations, however, stone lintels remain only at the south elevation. The roof of the addition features eight sawtooth monitors. They have received asphalt shingles and the skylights are infilled. Windows remain on the clerestories' east elevations. A single metal smokestack rises from the roof of the addition. The interior of the Manufactory is characterized mainly by three floors of open plan space with evenly spaced steel columns, some portions of which have been built-out or altered over time. Encompassing almost an entire city block and over 60,000 square feet of interior space, the Manufactory served as a clothing factory for L. Greif & Bro., Inc., makers of the men's clothing brand, 'Griffin.' Significance: Built c. 1914-1915, the L. Greif & Bro., Inc. Manufactory at North Milton and Ashland Avenues is an important example of the significant role of the needle trade and particularly men's clothing manufacturing played in Baltimore's early-20th century industrial and cultural history. L. Greif & Bros., Inc. was, for a time, the country's second-largest men's clothing company and the N. Milton Avenue Manufactory is historic at the local level as a significant component of Baltimore's needle trade, which was important to the city's industrial development from as early as 1860 through the 1920s. L. Grief & Bros, Inc., founded by Levi Greif, is also representative of the Baltimore needle trade's labor relations history in the early 20th century, as well as its ties with the city's German-Jewish population and history. The building derives additional significance as an example of a type of building which characterized manufacturing enterprises in the early 20th century. Its expansive open plan and provisions for ample light and air represent the state of the art in factory design in the period. The company was sold to a national conglomerate in 1957.


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