Historic Structures

Site Description Gunther Brewing Company - Hamms, Baltimore Maryland

The Gunther Brewing Company, later the plant for Tulkoff's Horseradish, occupies a large site roughly shaped like a quarter circle that extends over three city blocks. The site is bounded by O'Donnell Street on the north, Conkling Street on the west, and the Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington Railroad on the south and east. City streets like Elliott and Toone that once extended east through the complex have now been closed. A large 1955 warehouse stands on the west side of Conkling Street across from the quarter circle site and lies within the Canton Historic District. The grade along Conkling Street slopes from north to south, often exposing an additional story on the southern facades of the buildings.

Gunther Brewing Company is situated in a mixed residential/industrial neighborhood typical of the Canton Historic District immediately west of the site. The National Brewing Company is located across O'Donnell Street north of the Gunther Brewing Company. Rowhouses, the 1955 Gunther Brewing Company Warehouse, and the parking lot for a broom factory are located west of the brewery across Conkling Street; a tank farm is situated to the south; and rail tracks to the east. This brewery complex, active from 1900 to 1978, contains 15 components.

The ca. 1900 Brewhouse is a 5-story brick, ell-shaped Romanesque Revival-style building. Situated at the northeast corner of the intersection of Conkling and Toone Streets (Toone was later closed), the building has been altered and adapted over the years. It displays a variety of window openings including segmental arched, round arched, and rectangular. More recent large, square openings under steel beams house industrial steel sash. Many of the window openings, particularly on the north side of the building, have been blocked in. Decorative brickwork includes arches, projecting piers corbelled out from the building, a belt course above the 1st floor, and an elaborate corbelled cornice. A stone water table extends around the building. Massive HVAC and refrigeration equipment sit on the roof of the building.

A ca. 1910 2-story, brick Ice Plant extends east from the main block of the building, connecting the Brewhouse with the Boiler Room. The Ice Plant is detailed to match the larger Brewhouse. The 1900 Brewhouse also abuts the 1-story Wash House attached to the north end of the main block and the 1936 Brewhouse attached to the north end of the Ice Plant. Two bridges clad in corrugated aluminum extend from the southwest corner of the 2nd floor of the building. One bridge connects with the 1955 Warehouse across Conkling Street; another bridge extends across the internal drive to the Shipping & Bottling Building at the south end of the site.

The Boiler Room is a compound 1 and 2-story, rectangular-shaped, brick building that has been extensively altered over the years. The Boiler Room is situated adjacent to the Ice Plant at the east end of the 1900 Brewhouse along the former Toone Street. The 1- story section of the building is on the south; the 2-story on the north. The compound building includes the 1-story 1900 Boiler Room at the southeast corner, the ca. 1930 1-story brick hyphen that attaches the 1900 Boiler Room to the Ice Plant, and the 2-story Cooper Shop/Boiler Room at the north end of the rectangle. The stack is situated immediately north of the Cooper Shop/Boiler Room. Although the Boiler Room is detailed in a more utilitarian manner than the Brewhouse, it displays decorative brickwork including projecting brick piers terminating in a corbelled cornice and stone sills. This building has been extensively reworked to accommodate changing functions. In the early 1930s, the Cooper Shop was converted to a Boiler Room (now the Cooper Shop/Boiler Room); the 1900 Boiler Room then became a carpentry shop. The results of this functional transformation can be seen in the survival of the Cooper Shop's monitor roof, the 2nd story on the east facade of the Cooper Shop/Boiler Room, and in the blind bay at the location of the 1900 stack on the east facade of the building.

The southern section of the Boiler Room has square window openings; the northern section has blocked-in segmental arched openings on the 1st floor. Industrial sash windows have been inserted on the 2nd floor. The blind wall between the two sections corresponds to the location of the Pump House. A second, 1-story Pump House on the north side of the Boiler Room has been demolished and its site used for parking.

The Stable is a rectangular-shaped, 1-story brick building sandwiched between the site of the demolished Pump House north of the Boiler Room and the Blue & White Structure. The 1901 and 1914 Sanborn Maps show that this building had its origins as a steel frame stable with concrete floors. The southern half of the building is gone; only the perimeter walls of the northern section remain. The roof is collapsing. The intact west wall of the building displays projecting brick piers and infilled openings with segmental arches. Comparison of the 1914 and 1936 Sanborn Maps suggest that the building was expanded slightly to the west when it was converted to an ice plant. The earlier east wall that remains has been heavily reworked.

A two-story, irregularly-shaped, brick building attached to the south side of the 1949 Stock House is comprised of two earlier buildings unified by a 1947 facade. This compound building encompasses four elements: a 2-story office (ca. 1900), a small addition to the south side of the 2-story office, a second 2-story office north of the 1900 office, and a 1940s addition that extends out from the east of the 1900 office. Both the small addition and the 2-story north office building likely date to the early 1930s.

The corporate modern style west facade, which faces onto Conkling Street, features two sets of ribbon windows with marble panels, a limestone foundation, a simple, limestone rectangular entry surround, and shallow limestone coping around its flat roof. The fenestration pattern of the west facade relates to the two older buildings that the 1947 facade unifies. One-over-one windows, which are in ruinous condition, display lambs tongue stops.

On the south, the wall of the 1900 office and its south addition are still intact. This wall features brick corbelled cornices and rectangular window openings below brick segmental arches. The rounded corner and simple detailing of the more recent brick addition on the east suggests that it may date to the 1947 remodeling.

The Wash House is a rectangular-shaped, 1-story brick structure topped by a flat roof with limestone coping. The south facade of the building adjoins the 1900 Brewhouse; the rear (east) facade adjoins the 1950 Brewhouse. The Wash House, constructed around 1910, appears to have been altered during the wave of new construction at the brewery during the 1930s. The Conkling Street facade (west) has been reworked while the north facade facing the interior of the complex remains relatively unchanged. There is a granite water table on the Conkling Street (west) facade and a brick water table on the north. The entrance to the building is housed within a brick arched surround on the north facade. This facade displays window openings below brick segmental arches, a corbelled cornice, and other arched door openings, now infilled with brick. On the west facing Conkling Street, rectangular window openings have been inserted below a brick soldier course. Projecting brick piers are topped with pyramidal pinnacles. The limestone coping and pinnacles suggest that the roof line of this building was altered at the time the west facade was reworked. Traces of a former basement can be seen in granite sills below the water table at the south end of the Conkling Street (west) facade.

The Shipping & Bottling Building is a trapezoidal-shaped, compound brick building situated at the south end of the site. The building, which is largely 1-story in height, is the result of a series of additions and expansions taking place from the early to late 20 century; most of the building was complete by the time of the 1936 Sanborn Map. Two corrugated metal bridges extend from the north wall of the building - one to the 1900 Brewhouse and the other to the Tulkoff Factory and Warehouse. The interior of the building has been extensively altered and consists largely of open plan space with an exposed structural system.

The oldest portion of the Shipping & Bottling Building is undoubtedly its northwest corner, which still displays a round arched opening with decorative brickwork on the north wall. This structure was the Bottling House and first appears on the 1914 Sanborn Map. The most recent addition has been constructed along the east side of the building. The south wall, presently entirely obscured by vegetation, housed loading docks serving the adjacent rail tracks. With the exception of the recent easternmost section of the building, the exterior walls have been extensively altered over time to accommodate the changing function of the building. Window openings have been expanded into loading bays, infilled, or changed to entrances. Numerous skylights provide light within the building. A guardhouse and raised entrance have been added to the north facade in recent years. The degree to which it has been continuously altered reflects the importance of its location along Conkling Street and its adjacency to the rail tracks as well as its critical functional relationship to the other elements of the complex.

The 1-story Racking/Wash Room opposite Elliott Street faces a loading area serving the north end of the site. The rectangular building is comprised of two roughly square components: a stone and concrete block Racking Room on the west and a steel frame Wash Room on the east. The west facade of the Racking Room along Conkling Street consists of a blind brick wall recessed above a corbelled brick water table. The wall is topped with a stepped parapet with a concrete coping and corbelled brick cornice. Two narrow, slit windows are placed below a soldier course. The east facade of the building (Wash Room) also features a stepped parapet but is clearly detailed as a secondary facade. A small brick addition extends from the north end of this facade, which has window and door openings.

Loading bays extend across the north facade of the building. A metal canopy, possibly dating to the construction of the building, projects from the west end of the north facade adjacent to Conkling Street. The south side of the building, which adjoins the 1949 Stock House and Blue & White Structure, is entirely obscured by these two taller buildings.

The interior of the Racking Room and Wash Room consists of open plan space with a concrete block wall separating the two interconnected spaces. The Wash Room has a structural system comprised of an exposed concrete slab supported by closely spaced exposed I-beams. In the Racking Room, metal trusses support the roof structure.

The White-Seidenman Warehouse, constructed on the site of a brick stable, reworked earlier buildings into a garage. Because of the sloping site, the southern end of the 1-1/2 story rectangular brick building rests on a raised basement. The north facade of the building, which faces O'Donnell Street, incorporates the facades of earlier buildings on the site. The rest of the building appears to date from the early 1920s. The western portion of the W.S. Warehouse adjoins the 1955 Office Building. (The flagstone patio wall associated with the 1955 Office Building continues along the base of the west wall of the W.S. Warehouse.) The W.S. Warehouse has pier and spandrel construction and a gambrel roof with skylights supported by steel trusses. Brick walls appear to have been whitewashed or painted. The absence of white wash on the upper portion of the north and west facades shows how the wall was raised to accommodate the roof. With the exception of the north facade, which was part of the earlier stable, the building has square, industrial sash windows.

The north facade is an intriguing remnant of earlier buildings. A stacked pediment has been applied above the 5-bay, 2-1/2 story brick facade. The 5 bays of the facade display alternating cornice levels and are separated by projecting piers. Each bay has graduated window openings below segmental arches and elaborate corbelled cornices. While openings have been blocked in, multiple-pane sash survives on the interior of the building. Five of the 10 windows on the 1st floor have been shortened with decorative brick infill panels below wood sills. A large loading-bay topped with a steel I-beam has been inserted in the 2nd bay from the west.

The interior of the building is open plan, full-height space. Mezzanines, frame and concrete block offices, and enclosed paint rooms are set within the building. Interior walls have been plastered.

Gunther Brewing Company constructed the 1936 Brewhouse to accommodate post-Prohibition demand for their product. The 1936 Brewhouse is a 4-story, brick structure sandwiched between the 1900 and 1950 Brewhouses. It has only one facade, which faces east into the interior of the complex. The 1936 Brewhouse is of reinforced concrete construction with industrial steel sash windows placed between brick piers and spandrels. The interior, which once housed large tanks, consists of exposed structural elements. The original north wall of the 1900 Brewhouse is visible within the 1936 Brewhouse.

The 1949 Stock House is an 8-bay, 7-story, flat-roofed brick building facing west onto S. Conkling Street. The Old Office is attached to the south side of the larger building; the 3-story Blue & White Structure (1960) is attached to its east side. The entrance and stair tower for the 7-story steel frame building are situated in the southwest corner and can be read through a pattern of windows at the south end of the west facade. The entrance features a stylized Gibbs surround. The largely blind street facade is articulated by projecting brick piers. The 7th floor has one window opening per bay tied together by brick banding and a concrete sill course between the piers. Signage consisting of a single letter per bay is attached above the windows.

The 1950 Brewhouse is an irregularly massed, 6-story brick building situated between the Wash House and the 1936 Brewhouse. Because it is the tallest building on the site, all 4 facades are visible even though the building is situated at the center of the complex off the street. The fenestration pattern of the building, which displays the asymmetrical massing, blind brick walls, ribbon windows, flat roofs, and lack of ornament associated with the 20th century modern movement, expresses functions housed within the building. Large, multi-story windows denote locations of tanks. Massive HVAC piping and equipment rise above the roof of the building. Like many of the other production-related buildings on the site, windows have been removed to salvage equipment.

G.B.S. Brewing constructed a 2-story, ell-shaped, International style, brick and glass office building at the corner of O'Donnell and Conkling Streets. The steel frame, 23,000 sq. ft. building features a 4-story signage pylon reminiscent of Raymond Loewy's widely published plans for International Harvestor showrooms. Because of the sloping site, the southern end of the flat-roofed building is 3- stories high. The east end of the ell along O'Donnell Street adjoins the W.S. Warehouse.

The ell-shaped brick building features a projecting curtain wall on the 2nd floor west of the pylon. This element appears to have been designed to "float" above the more solid, brick section of the building. Although bands of windows appear in the more solid 3-story section of the building, brick corners have been maintained. On the east end of the 2nd floor north wall facing O'Donnell Street, ribbon windows are set within a thin, limestone surround with vertical, metal spandrels. Small, high windows, denoting a climatecontrolled interior, light the 1st story brick portion of the building. The "floating" 2nd floor features a blind north wall, formerly used for signage, and glazed curtain walls. The curtain walls are comprised of aluminum windows and metal spandrel panels.

The narrow, rectangular pylon has been faced with metal, now painted. A metal screen adjacent to the pylon obscures rooftop HVAC equipment and now bears additional signage. The marble water table and planter on the north facade and at the northwest corner of the building are in very poor condition. The 1955 Office Building features a breezeway along its south fapade. This breezeway connects to the W.S. Warehouse. A coursed ashlar retaining wall sets off a narrow, patio area at the center of the U formed by the 1955 Office Building and the W.S. Warehouse.

The interior plan of the building consists of double-loaded corridors opening to either side of the corner lobby. There are stairs at the south end of the lobby, at the south end of the building, and on the exterior of the south wall of the portion of the building along O'Donnell Street. An elevator tower has been added to the east side of the south wing of the building. The interior, which has been altered to accommodate a school, consists of recent finishes like speed base and dropped ceilings.

A 1-story steel frame and concrete block, brick-faced, corporate international style warehouse constructed in 1955 is the only building in the Gunther Brewing Complex situated on the west side of S. Conkling Street. The building is bounded by Elliott Street on the north, Conkling Street on the east, and Toone Street on the south. Because of its location on the west side of Conkling, the warehouse is situated within the Canton Historic District. Pedestrian entrances are located within the east (Conkling Street) and north facades; the entire south facade facing Toone Street is devoted to loading bays.

Brick curtain walls are topped by a shallow limestone coping. Ribbon windows with multiple pane sash are inserted within each facade; the ribbon window on the south facade is detailed as a transom above the loading dock. Limestone panels are set within the window band. The primary pedestrian entrance on the Conkling Street (east) facade is set within a rectangular panel at the south end of the ribbon window. A stair tower and corrugated aluminum bridge connect the warehouse with the 2nd floor of the 1900 Brewhouse. The same corrugated aluminum appears in the panel associated with the entrance. Steel stubs projecting from the roof show that the building was designed for vertical expansion.

This 3-story, steel frame, glazed block structure is situated immediately south of the Racking/Wash Room. Its north facade adjoins the Racking/Wash Room facility and its west facade adjoins the 1949 Stock House. While the structure of this building is intact, much of its east wall was removed to permit salvage of tanks, that ran the full height of the building.

The structural system is the most striking feature of the interior of the building since the tanks and large expanses of floors have been removed. Finishes include glazed tile walls and terra cotta floor tiles.

The most recent building on the site is the Tulkoff Factory and Warehouse, constructed ca. 1964. This ell-shaped, compound building is composed of a 1-story white concrete block building and a 1-story red concrete block warehouse. A corrugated metal bridge connects the Warehouse to the Shipping & Bottling Building. The Warehouse walls are largely blind; there are window openings within the white building. Pedestrian entrance to this structure is situated near the center of the south wall of the white building.