Monday, August 19, 2013

The Parke-Davis Complex

One thing I need to get back to doing is covering some of the history of Michigan.  Some people say that I focus on ships too much and I really can't argue with them.  This was never intended to be a nautical blog but ships are cool and it's nice and relaxing to watch them.  Still, this was intended to highlight aspects of Michigan that don't get highlighted elsewhere.  So as a nice change of pace, here's a little history.

We were supposed to catch the boat nears Stroh's place.  Little did I realize there was some other stuff there and since I still had a little time to kill, here goes.
 A little know fact is that Detroit is the birthplace of the modern pharmaceutical industry.  After the Civil War, a Detroit physician became interested in manufacturing phramaceuticals.  His name was Samuel P. Duffield.  In 1866, he partnered with Hervey Coke Parke.  The next year, George S. Davis joined up and Parke-Davis was born.  Over the years, the firm expanded and by 1890, Detroit became the leader for the design and manufacture of pharmaceutical drugs.  Shortly after this time, Parke-Davis selected this spot because of its access to the waterway and rails.

The above building was the adminstration building and was constructed in 1927 and was desinged by the Fred Smith, Theodore Hinchman and Maxwell Grylls.  For a second, I thought this was an Albert Kahn building...but that one is coming.
 You can tell this was building that was built in the days when they cared about architecture.
 Look at the detail on the door.
Hell, look at the detail on the building itself.  You don't see this kind of work on a modern building.
Another one of the panels.
 I really liked this arches.
 Somehow, it wouldn't be a building without a lion head.
 This reminds me of the lion head on the Bay City City Hall Building.
 Looking from the other way.
 This was another research building.  At one time, it was called Building 42 and was designed by Albert Kahn.
 Looking from the other way.
 I really need to figure out how to do these pictures without the forced perspective.
 Going back to the Administration Building.
 A shot of the Administration building from the river.
Another shot of the Kahn building.

So what happened?  In 1970, Parke-Davis was purchased by Warner-Lambert.  The operations in Detroit were moved to Ann Arbor.  This company was later bought by Pfizer who in turned moved Operations out of Ann Arbor to Connecticutt (I think).  The above buildings were bought by Stroh's and converted to restaurants, hotels, etc.  I'm not sure how well they are doing now but they seemed to be in good shape.

1 comment:

Pater said...

Pfizer has a big complex in downtown Kalamazoo. It has facilities in other states and around the world. I believe it is a Help Desk in India.