Oh Hendlers Creamery Building,
Every time I pass you by (which is every day on the way to work), I can’t help but sigh as I think about a delicious mint chip filled-waffle cone, and imagine you all decked out and celebrating Baltimore’s role in the grand history of American ice cream.
I know you look a little down on your luck these days, your Romanesque arches bricked up and windows boarded. But I can’t help loving you. I love your sheer size, and the title “LABORATORY” emblazoned on your right wing. Wikipedia calls your style “brutal” but I call it bold and beautiful. And I can see new glory days for you ahead!
Your early years on 1100 East Baltimore Street were a whirlwind story of adaptive re-use before it was cool—from not-so-humble beginnings as a power house of the Baltimore City Passenger Railway Company to a revolving theater showcasing vaudeville, music, Yiddish theater and even early motion pictures—before settling down into your long-term career as the most innovative ice cream factory in America. And now you are slated to become housing, including a section for Ronald McDonald House families, your exterior repaired and your history remembered. I hear they’re even going to put a little ice cream shop in. I can’t wait.
With all my love and hope for the future,
Rachel Kassman is now the Development and Marketing Manager at the Jewish Museum of Maryland, located right around the corner from the Hendler Creamery Building. The Museum is lucky enough to hold the archives of the Hendler Creamery Corporation, much of which can be viewed online here. (http://bit.ly/1ITe9Gt)
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