While Baltimore is remembered for the city’s role in fabricating ships and railcars, the companies that made the large machines required to build those ships and railcars have largely been forgotten. The Detrick & Harvey Machine Company buildings is one of the last remnants of Baltimore’s place in the history of machinery manufacture.
The Detrick & Harvey Machine Company began downtown, a block from the Inner Harbor, in an area of Baltimore where both the buildings and, ultimately, the streets themselves were lost to the 1904 Fire. Before Jacob S. Detrick founded his machine company on Preston Street, he operated the Enterprise Machine Works (featured in the 1882 volume “Industries of Maryland”). Around 1883, Alexander Harvey, a recent graduate of Harvard University and Baltimore native, joined Detrick in his machine shop by and the two soon formed the partnership of Detrick & Harvey.
The company outgrew Detrick's original downtown location by 1885 and moved north to Preston Street just east of the Jones Falls. There they began the construction of an impressive factory complex. Around 1890, the company’s name changed to the Detrick & Harvey Machine Company. They were well known for their metal working machines, notably their planers and the band saw filing machine first offered by Enterprise Machine Works. Alexander Harvey passed away in 1914 at age 57.
The next year, on August 17, 1915, the Bethlehem Steel Company purchased the company and the complex became the Bethlehem Steel Detrick & Harvey Plant. Examples of large D & H machines are in two notable local collections: a large planer at the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum's repair facility and another at the Baltimore Museum of Industry. The Yellow Cab Company purchased the facility in 1929 and continue to operate there until the early 1980s.