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Baltimore, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Wilkens Building

 
 
Wilkens Building Marker image. Click for full size.
By Christopher Busta-Peck, July 23, 2008
1. Wilkens Building Marker
Inscription. In the 1840's, William Wilkens, a German immigrant, founded the Wilkens Brush Company. Wilkens was a pioneer of large-scale industrial production in Baltimore. The Wilkens Building was constructed with a cast-iron front manufactured by Bartlet and Hayward in 1871 to serve as a downtown office and warehouse for the company.

Baltimore was an important center of cast-iron construction by the mid-nineteenth century with several significant foundries in the city exporting cast-iron fronts throughout the world. The structure is one of the city's last extant cast-iron fronted buildings. The Wilkens Company's innovative use of cast-iron, the world's first industrialized, factory-produced building material, demonstrated their progressiveness. Its use as a building material also illustrates the impadct of industrialization on the post Civil War growth of Baltimore's central business district. This cast-iron fronted building represents the transition from timber and brick construction, the building's dominant materials, to a more modern material. During the 1880's a fifth story was added to the building.

In 1904, Wilkens relocated the headquarters closer to his plant. The company owned the building until 1929 and in 1940 it was purchased by the Robins Paper Company. In 1989 the structure was revitalized with a mix of new construction
Wilkens Building Marker image. Click for full size.
By Christopher Busta-Peck, July 23, 2008
2. Wilkens Building Marker
and rehabilitation, by the real estate development firm of Stone & Associates.
 
Erected by the City of Baltimore, Marsh & McLennan, Inc., sponsor and Kurt L. Schmoke, mayor.
 
Location. 39° 17.187′ N, 76° 37.18′ W. Marker is in Baltimore, Maryland. Marker can be reached from the intersection of West Pratt Street and South Howard Street. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Baltimore MD 21201, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Baltimore Arts Tower (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Great Railroad Strike of 1877 (about 600 feet away); Baltimore Riot Trail (about 600 feet away); Baltimore Regional Trail (about 600 feet away); On to Yorktown (about 600 feet away); Babe’s Dream (about 600 feet away); Inner Harbor Lofts (approx. 0.2 miles away); Wrestling in Maryland (approx. 0.2 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Baltimore.
 
More about this marker. The marker features two images; a photograph of William Wilkens and an illustration of the building in the late 19th century, with the caption:

Wilkens Building, corner of Pratt and Howard Streets. FR. Bergner & Co. leased a portion of the building from approximately 1884-1905.
The Wilkens Building image. Click for full size.
By Christopher Busta-Peck, July 23, 2008
3. The Wilkens Building

 
Categories. Industry & CommerceNotable Buildings
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Christopher Busta-Peck of Shaker Heights, Ohio. This page has been viewed 985 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on , by Christopher Busta-Peck of Shaker Heights, Ohio. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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