The Allied Chemical and Dye Corporation manufactured chemical components for many industrial applications. Quaker merchant Isaac Tyson Jr. established the company that became Allied Chemical in 1828, mining chromium ore and supplying chrome pigment to England which he refined at his Baltimore Chrome Works plant. The operation became Mutual Chemical Company in 1908, merged with Allied in 1954, and became part of Honeywell in 1999. This site, used for dumping the toxic waste produced in chemical manufacturing, is now occupied by a row of houses.
Sites across Baltimore—including this location in Locust Point as well as Harbor Point—were toxic dumping grounds for Allied and its successor company, Honeywell. Chromium, produced here, was used to make stainless steel and certain paints. Tom Pelton of the Baltimore Sun wrote that, “During the city's industrial zenith in the mid-20th century, Allied dumped tons of chrome waste and other pollutants in more than a dozen locations around Baltimore's harbor, both into the Patapsco River and along the shore, according to state records. Chrome waste was often used as landfill under buildings and parking lots.” He pointed out that its “lemon hue lurks under the parking lot of the Baltimore Museum of Industry” nearby.
The term “brownfield” refers to a formerly industrial property that requires environmental remediation for redevelopment efforts—sites tainted by toxic waste. One study by Johns Hopkins University researchers estimated that Baltimore alone has about 1,000 brownfield sites. Environmentalists at local, state, and federal levels have gone to enormous efforts to oversee the cleanup process, to ensure public health at sites such as this one.
Think about the benefits of environmental regulations as you walk through the neighborhood. Although you can’t see it, arsenic and chromium lie beneath our feet in many locations along the harbor. Cleanup efforts remain underway across Baltimore.