Parke-Davis and Company Pharmaceutical Company
Plant is a complex of buildings located in Detroit, Michigan, bounded by
Joseph Campau Avenue, Wight Street, McDougal Avenue, and the
It is now known as the River Place
. The complex was listed on the National Register of
Looking north along J.
Building on Detroit River
Building in complex.
History and significance
In the 1870s, Parke-Davis
moved to the
riverfront property this complex now occupies. Between 1891 and
1955, the company expanded the complex to cover over 14 acres,
building the 26 buildings that still stand. These buildings were
designed by some of the most prominent Detroit architects,
including Donaldson & Meier, Albert Kahn
, and Smith, Hinchman
& Grylls. As a group, the buildings in the complex are
significant as the represent a wide variety of industrial
architecture from the early 20th century.
In 1979, Parke-Davis sold its property in Detroit, including the
Research Laboratory, to the Stroh family (of Stroh Brewery Company
). The complex,
now known as River Place, has been converted into offices, retail
space, residences, and a hotel.
These buildings range from brick mill buildings built at the turn
of the 20th century to reinforced concrete buildings constructed
after 1920 and range from one to six stories in height. The central
and northern portions of the complex are tightly packed with
interconnected buildings. There is more open space at the southern
edge along the river.
notable single building in this group is the Parke-Davis
Research Laboratory, built in 1902 along the Detroit River.
building was the first industrial research laboratory in the U.S.
established for the specific purpose of conducting pharmacological
research, inaugurating the commercial pure science approach which
has driven the rapid development of pharmaceutical technology. The
research laboratory was declared a National Historic Landmark
- Parke-Davis and Company Plant and Research Laboratory
from the National Park Service.
- Melanie Grunow Sobocinski, Michele Valerie Ronnick,
Marlise Beaudoen, Alfred Berkowitz Gallery, Detroit and
Rome: Building on the Past, The Regents of the Univ of
Michigan, 2005, ISBN 0933691092, p.97
- Parke-Davis and Company Pharmaceutical Plant
from the state of Michigan
- Parke-Davis Research Laboratory from the state
of Michigan Dept of History & Libraries