A powerhouse for Baltimore streetcars. A 2,000-seat venue for plays, circuses and vaudeville acts. A Yiddish language theater for the city’s growing Jewish population.
Then from 1912 until the 1980s, the castle-like red brick building at 1100 East Baltimore Street was the home of a famous ice cream packing plant, Hendler’s Creamery.
These days, as The Brew reported last week, the partially demolished structure is the site of a stalled $75 million mixed-use redevelopment by Kevin Johnson’s Commercial Group.
Only three walls of the Richardsonian Romanesque building remain standing, propped up by metal braces, while the interior is open to the elements.
The building’s history is chronicled in detail in a well-illustrated post on the Maryland Historical Society Library’s wonderfully named blog, underbelly.
The post follows its subject where it leads, through the pioneering of exotic ice cream flavors such as rum (with real rum), ginger and even a foray into tomato sorbet. There’s the tale of a Hendler child’s kidnapping and, in an appalling twist, a description of some racist imagery in the company’s advertising.
“Horse-drawn wagons delivered the frosty confection for many years until they were replaced by a fleet of trucks,” underbelly reports. “After the switch, some of the horses remained loyal employees.”
In 1929, the Borden Company purchased the company, though it continued to operate under the Hendlers Creamery name until the late 1960′s.
• The Velvet Kind: The Sweet Story of Hendler’s Creamery 6/6/17 underbelly: From the Deepest Corners of the Maryland Historical Society Library.
There’s much more. The post is recommended reading for those who may want to know more after reading The Brew’s reporting (or Adam Bednar’s story last month in The Daily Record about the project’s delay).
For those who wonder just how ruined the inside of the building is, here is video sent to us by Matt Hood, who says he shot it in April.
Be prepared to tilt your head, the camera-work is a bit challenging: