It may be hard to imagine now, but many fertilizer companies once lined downtown Frederick’s South Carroll Street in the 1800s.
Painted on a tan, nondescript building facing the street, one can make out the remnants of a sign identifying the Central Chemical Company.
Tyson’s Phosphate Factory/J. Tyson & Son was one these fertilizer companies, in operation since 1867, according to a History of Industry by the City of Frederick, until it was purchased by the Central Chemical Company. The Central Chemical Company, established in 1885, also had plants in Baltimore, Hagerstown, Gettysburg, and Harrisonburg, Virginia.
A July 8, 1920 article in The News outlined the sale. “During the past year a new building was erected and new machinery installed. The sale of the business was, therefore, somewhat of a surprise in business circles,” according to the article. “However, it is understood that the purchasing company has for some time been endeavoring to secure a branch in this city and negotiations were made toward acquiring this company some time ago, but they were unsuccessful. This year, however, satisfactory terms were agreed upon and the deal was made.”
The company announced the purchase by way of a large newspaper ad in The News later that month, beckoning to its customers with the header “Farmers — Attention” and inviting them to come to the facility at any time: “The Frederick plant is open at all times to the visits of our customers. We extend a cordial invitation to every user of fertilizer to look over our factory and see the fertilizer in the bins and the materials we use.”
The advertisement also touted it facilities and fertilizers, vowing …”to manufacture the very best fertilizers that can be produced.”
Sources: The News, July 8, 1920 & July 29, 1920; City of Frederick website