Photo credit: C. Belfoure , 12/15/2006

Property Name: Hendler Creamery
Date Listed: 12/20/2007
Inventory No.: B-1020
Location: 1100, Baltimore St., E., Baltimore, Baltimore City

Description: The Hendler Creamery consists of two adjacent building complexes located in East Baltimore. The original building complex at 1100 East Baltimore Street, which encompasses a full city block, contains a 59,340 square foot brick Romanesque Revival cable-car powerhouse built in 1892, with additions completed in 1915-20 and 1949, and is connected to a one-story brick building built in the 1960s that extends east to Aisquith Street. The other building complex at 1107 E. Fayette Street, a 33,504 square foot brick warehouse structure built form 1923-27, is located directly north across East Fairmount Avenue and contains a first-floor garage with a partial second and third story above. It extends form East Fairmount Avenue to East Fayette Street and from Aisquith Street along East Fayette Street. The original cable-car powerhouse faces south onto East Baltimore Street, and is constructed of red face brick with red mortar joints and Seneca stone trim. It consists of a gable-front section, with a stone water table spanning four pairs of basement windows beneath four large contiguous Romanesque Revival half-round arched openings with the original double-hung windows which are now hidden behind an infill of brick. Directly above these are four pairs of rectangular window openings, surmounted by eight contiguous rectangular window openings. A cluster of four round engaged columns of molded brick with stone capitals and bases separate each of the four arched and eight contiguous rectangular windows. In the tympanum of the pediment is a pair of half-round arched openings flanked by rectangular openings. This section of the building is flanked by two-story brick bays. At the first floor, which is five feet above street level, the east flanking bay contains an arched opening with a door and transom and the west bay contains an identical opening that has been altered to create a garage door. Above these are three rectangular window openings, surmounted by a continuous corbeled brick cornice that extends around the entire building. Above this cornice in both bays is another story containing a pair of half-round arched double-hung windows separated by the same clustered column detail as below. Above the windows is an identical corbeled brick cornice that is at the same height as the bottom of the center pediment. To the right of the east bay is another bay containing a large infilled window opening at the first-floor level above which is a grouping of three rectangular window openings surmounted by a grouping of half-round arched double-hung windows that match the units in the flanking bays. The bays are topped by a continuous corbeled brick cornice that extends around the entire building. The original 1892 design was altered in 1915-1920, when the Hendler Company added the eastern-most bay for a laboratory and another story on the south, west, and north elevations above the original cornice that matched a floor constructed in 1903 for a theater. A second story below the theater floor was added and windows were inserted into the existing exterior walls. The east facade originally had a series of half-round arched windows on the first floor that were enclosed by later additions. A 100' brick chimney originally stood adjacent to the east elevation but was cut down to approximately 30' and enclosed in subsequent additions. Additions made by the Borden company in the 1960s extend east of the original building. To the north of these stands the 216' x 105' garage and warehouse at 1107 E. Fayette Street, constructed between 1923 and 1927. It is reinforced concrete with a brick exterior and flat built-up roof. The building also contains a basement which once had a tunnel connection to the 1100 East Baltimore Street building. The north facade contains three garage door openings with window openings between them. The north half of the building is one story in height while that on the south is two stories, with a single three-story bay on the far east end. This end has been stuccoed over with cement plaster, and contains an original garage door on the first floor and four original window openings on the second. The original windows on the first and third floors have been bricked in and stuccoed over. The south facade, two stories high, originally contained eight garage bays on the first floor, most of which have been infilled with brick, leaving three. The second story contains all eight original window openings.

Significance: The Hendler Creamery is historically significant for its contribution to the broad patterns of history in three areas of significance: transportation, performing arts, and industry. In the realm of transportation, the building's original use as a cable-car powerhouse for the Baltimore City Passenger Railway Company from 1892 to 1898 played an important role in Baltimore's transportation history, with the development of the cable-car mass transit in Baltimore, which attempted to use a new mode of urban transportation in place of the horse-car. The building powered the run of cable from Gay Street to North Avenue, using steam engines which propelled a sheave that pulled a continuous loop of cable. When the electric trolley replaced the cable-car as thee more economical means of mass transit, the building was used by Baltimore's trolley monopoly, United Railways and Electric Company, from 1899 to 1903. The building's conversion to a theater from 1903 to 1912 links it to Baltimore's early-20th century performing arts history, which includes melodrama, movies, opera, vaudeville, and, most importantly, the Yiddish theater serving the largely Jewish immigrant population. A second floor was installed above the first-floor engine room containing an auditorium and dressing rooms by Baltimore's most famous theater impresario, James L. Kernan, who originally operated the venue as the Convention Hall Theater. Some of the city's earliest motion pictures were shown there by Kernan. It was also known as the Bijou, the Princess, and the Baltimore Theater. For most of its life, it operated as a Jewish theater putting on performances of melodrama, comedy, and musicals in the Yiddish language. The building's most important and longest historical legacy came when it was purchased by the Hendler Ice Cream Company in 1912 and converted to the country's first fully automated ice cream factory. Besides producing one of Baltimore's most favorite brands of ice cream, it played a major role in the development of the nation's ice cream business. Many important pioneering industry innovations were developed over the next 50 years in this building, including new kinds of packaging, the blade sharpener, which produced smoother ice cream, and fast freezing, which allowed ice cream to be frozen with a liquid cream texture. The adjoining building at 1107 East Fayette Street, built in the 1920s as part of the Hendler Creamery complex, is also significant, notably in the creation of one of the nation's first ice cream delivery systems by refrigerated truck.




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