|The Wilkens-Robins Building (also known as the Robins Paper Company) was constructed in 1871. It stands as a silent reminder of a once-vibrant industrial area composed of numerous cast-iron buildings adjacent to the area now occupied by the Baltimore Convention Center. In the late 1880s, Baltimore counted among its major industries one of the largest foundries in the northeast producing architectural ironwork. Cast-iron was the world’s first industrialized, factory-produced building material. Many of Baltimore’s cast-iron buildings were destroyed in the Great Fire of 1904; the remaining buildings were gradually torn down. The Wilkens-Robins Building survives as a rare example of a classically detailed cast-iron facade.
Originally, the building housed the profitable Wilkens Brush Company. The company used hair from the hides of the slaughterhouse for its brushes and was probably a very smelly business. After relocating to a suburban location, Bradley-Reese Paper Company leased the Wilkens-Robins Building until the Robins Paper Company purchased it in 1940. After listing in the National Register in 1980, the Wilkens-Robins Buildings has been restored and rehabilitated to its former glory.
The Wilkens-Robins Building is located at 308-312 W. Pratt St. (not open to the public).
Wilkens-Robins Building with Emerson Tower to the left
Historic view from the 1880s of the Wilkens-Robins Building