Parke-Davis and Company Pharmaceutical Plant, photo taken 1985 Parke-Davis and Company Pharmaceutical Plant, photo taken 1985 Parke-Davis and Company Pharmaceutical Plant, photo taken 1985
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Parke-Davis and Company Pharmaceutical Plant
Bounded by Joseph Campau Avenue, Wight Street, McDougal Avenue and the Detroit River, Detroit - Wayne County
Other Names River Place Complex
Property Type industrial complex
Historic Use INDUSTRY/PROCESSING/EXTRACTION/manufacturing facility
Current Use COMMERCE/TRADE/business
Style Other
Architect/Builder Albert Kahn Associates
Donaldson and Meier
Smith, Hinchman and Grylls
Narrative Description The Parke-Davis complex is a fourteen-and-one-half-acre complex comprised of the original manufacturing, research, and office buildings of the Parke-Davis Company pharmaceutical plant. Located along the Detroit River, approximately one-and-one-half miles east of the city's central business district, the complex includes twenty-six industrial structures. Buildings include fine examples of standard brick mill buildings of the early 1890s as well as reinforced concrete buildings dating from the 1920s and later. The complex possesses some limited open space at its southern edge along the river, while its central and northern portions are made up of a core of tightly packed clusters of interconnected buildings. The scale of the structures within the complex ranges from one- to six stories in height.
Statement of Significance The Parke-Davis and Company Pharmaceutical Plant was the home of one of the nation's most successful pharmaceutical firms and includes the first pharmaceutical research laboratory building constructed in the United States. Established in 1866 by Dr. Samuel P. Duffield and hardware merchant Harvey C. Parke, the company built their laboratory building on the site in 1902 at a cost of $250,000. Later buildings were designed by prominent Detroit architectural firms including Donaldson & Meier; Albert Kahn; and Smith, Hinchman & Grylls. Aesthetically, the complex is significant because it contains fine examples of industrial design dating from the late nineteenth century through the 1930s. The plant was converted in the 1970s to residential, office, and retail space now known as the River Place Complex.
Period of Significance 1866-1900
Significant Date(s) 1891
Registry Type(s) 09/16/1985 National Register listed
Site ID# P25198