User Tools

Site Tools


Project 019 ◄| Project List |► Project 021

FBG Project D-020

Source: JDG-1

3-story Building for Lever Brothers

  • Cambridge, MA
  • 1903
  • Architect: Thomas M. James (Boston)
  • Demolished 1960

This project was believed to be the first building built for Lever Brothers, an English soap company that opened business in the US around 1900 and became an international manufacturing powerhouse. A large complex of buildings for the company eventually grew in Cambridge, many within blocks of this one on Broadway and many of which remain standing and in use.

Data for this project is scanty and comes mostly from the Cambridge Historical Commission's records. FBG involvement turns on a single transcript of building permits and has not been corroborated.

Whether the building at 164-190 Broadway (at the corner of Burleigh, which no longer exists) was a factory, office, both or perhaps changed functions (possibly being an office until the much larger offices were opened in the next decades, then being repurposed as a factory) is not known. The one photo of the building is captioned “office building,” but the permit records state “factory.” Accounts of the company say its first US facility was a factory.

Frank and Lillian Gilbreth later did well-publicized work for Lever Brothers as management and efficiency consultants; the contract was open at the time of Frank's death in 1924. So a prior connection is not unlikely.

FBG Provenance

Cambridge Historical Commission research by Christopher Hail quoted as:

  • “164-190 factory 3-st 1903; razed 1960
    …..1903 factory brick; flat roof 3 & -st permit 10150 burleigh (o) Lever bros co (b) Gilbreth Frank B.”


  • Demolished in 1960


  • Photo of Lever Brothers building at 164-190 Broadway, ca. 1915:

  • Reverse of photo with contemporary caption:

  • Map of the entire Lever Brothers complex, probably about 1960:

 Lever Brothers complex

  • Detail of Broadway and Burleigh. The FBG building is one of the two upper corners:


  • Thanks to Eric Hill of the Cambridge Historical Commission for considerable attention to this inquiry.
lever.txt · Last modified: 2023/11/11 19:58 by