Photo credit: Scott Meacham , 04/2000

Property Name: Parker Metal Decorating Company Plant
Date Listed: 11/22/2000
Inventory No.: B-1064
Location: 333, Ostend St., W., Baltimore, Baltimore City

Description: The Parker Metal Decorating Company is a steel-frame brick industrial building comprised of five components built in stages between the first decade of the 20th century and the 1940s. The plant, which ranges from one to three stories in height, is flat-roofed. The building was continuously owned by the Parker Metal Decorating Company between 1921 and 1994, and has a period of significance from 1921 to 1949. The various additions within this period are inextricably linked to Parker Metal’s adaptive strategies. The earliest section of the building (Section A) is the 1-story portion in the southwest corner, built c. 1901-1910. Originally a bakery, this part of the building has a monitor roof with infilled openings that have been covered recently. Only the south and west facades are visible. The 7-bay south façade is composed of banded common-bond brickwork with a stone foundation. The 6 eastern segmental-arched openings are covered in plexiglass while the westernmost opening is infilled with brick. The openings contain 9/6 sash, the two western openings are shorter than the rest and contain 6/3 sash. The 12-bay western façade features segmental-arched openings and is surmounted by a corbeled brick cornice. A metal loading dock at the southern end of the façade extends from the building onto the Howard Street right-of-way. Section B expanded the building to the north and east prior to 1914, and was raised to two stories in the late 1920s. The north façade comprises most of the primary façade, with a corbeled brick cornice and divided into five unequal bays by pilasters. Openings are now mostly covered. The five-bay west façade continues the wall plane established by section a, also with infilled openings, and painted letters reading "THE PARKER METAL DECORATING CO." Section C, forming the greater part of the east façade of the building, is three stories high, constructed between 1925 and 1927, with a 7-bay façade with pier-and-spandrel construction. Section D, located in a U-shaped space formed by A, B, and C, was the Bag Yard of the Burnett Bag and Burlap Co. in 1914, but was roofed over after 1925. Section E, the southern section of the complex, is comprised of c. 1940s-1970s 1-story additions.

Significance: The Parker Metal Decorating Company, which occupied the plant from 1921 to 1994, pioneered technical innovations that contributed to Baltimore’s metal decorating industry. Metal decorating was an essential component of the city’s major canning industry. The plant is the only standing building associated with the city’s smaller early-20th century metal lithography firms. The building’s period of significance extends from 1921 to 1949, while the company’s survival into the late 20th century exemplifies the flexibility and adaptive market strategies that Baltimore’s location and broad industrial base made possible.




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