Encyclopedia Of Detroit

Parke-Davis and Company Pharmaceutical Plant, River Place Complex

The historic River Place Complex, formerly known as the Parke-Davis and Company Pharmaceutical Plant, is located in Detroit, Michigan, bounded by Joseph Campau Avenue, Wight Street, McDougal Avenue, and the Detroit International Riverfront. The Parke-Davis and Company Pharmaceutical Plant moved to the Detroit Riverfront in the 1870s. It was one of the nation’s most successful pharmaceutical firms, and it included the first pharmaceutical research laboratory building to be constructed in the United States.

Today, River Place is a 14 and 1/2 acre complex that is comprised of the original manufacturing, research, and office buildings of the Parke-Davis Plant. These buildings include 26 original industrial structures that were built between 1891 and 1955 and were designed by several prominent Detroit architectural firms, including Donaldson & Meier, Albert Kahn, and Smith, Hinchman & Grylls. The architectural style of these buildings is Romanesque Revival.

In 1979, Parke-Davis sold its Detroit plant to the Stroh family of the Stroh Brewery Company. The buildings comprising the former Parke-Davis complex, now known as River Place, have since been converted into offices, retail space, residences, and a hotel. The River Place Complex was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 16, 1985.

Edited by Julia Teran



River Place Complex shown on the cover of the Parke-Davis annual report, 1966 - 2008.017.114

Painting of the River Place Complex in 1883, 1961 - 2013.048.127

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