B and B Chemical Company

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B and B Chemical Company
B and B Chemical Company, 780 Memorial Drive, Cambridge, MA - IMG 2955.JPG
B and B Chemical Company is located in Massachusetts
B and B Chemical Company
B and B Chemical Company is located in the US
B and B Chemical Company
Location 780 Memorial Drive, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Coordinates 42°21′35″N 71°6′57″W / 42.35972°N 71.11583°W / 42.35972; -71.11583Coordinates: 42°21′35″N 71°6′57″W / 42.35972°N 71.11583°W / 42.35972; -71.11583
Built 1937 (1937)
Architect Coolidge,Shepley,Bulfinch & Abbott
Architectural style Streamline Moderne
MPS Cambridge MRA
NRHP Reference #


Added to NRHP April 13, 1982

The B and B Chemical Company is an historic office and industrial building at 784 Memorial Drive in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Built in 1937 for an adhesive manufacturer to a design by Coolidge, Shepley, Bulfinch & Abbott, it is a prominent local example of Streamline Moderne architecture. It served for many years as the headquarters of the Polaroid Corporation. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.[1] It is now owned by The Bulfinch Companies of Needham, Massachusetts.[2]

Description and history[edit]

The former B and B Chemical Company building is located in the Cambridgeport neighborhood of Cambridge, on the east side of Memorial Drive between River Street and Pleasant Street Extension. It is a basically rectangular structure, with a four-story central section flanked by three-story wings. It has a frame of steel and concrete, and is mainly faced in buff brick. The central section is recessed from the wings, but a projecting cornice on the wings extends over the recess area to provide a curved canopy over the entrance. The central part of the center section is even taller, with a projecting rounded window bay topped by a clock face. The wings are symmetrical, with the ground floor composed mainly of glass blocks interspersed with regularly spaced horizontal windows. The upper floors are defined by long bands of horizontal windows.[3]

The building was designed by Coolidge, Shepley, Bulfinch & Abbott and built in 1937 for the B and B Chemical Company, a subsidiary of the United Shoe Machinery Corporation. The facility, which include a more simply designed second building behind this one, produced adhesives used in the shoe manufacturing process at other plants. It later served as the headquarters for the Polaroid Corporation for many years.[3] It is now owned by The Bulfinch Companies, and is occupied by Nimbus Discovery, a biotechnology firm.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b National Park Service (2008-04-15). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ "The Polaroid Building-784 Memorial Drive". The Bulfinch Companies, Inc. Retrieved 7 August 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "MACRIS inventory record and NRHP nomination for B & B Chemical Company". Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Retrieved 2015-05-22.