Along with Parke-Davis, Frederick Stearns & Co. helped make Detroit a major center for the pharmaceutical industry in the late 19th Century.
The company was founded in 1856 by Frederick A. Stearns, but it was his son Frederick K. Stearns who made the firm a global player, eventually opening labs in Australia, South America and all over Europe.
Stearns was a patron of the arts, playing a role in the early days of the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Detroit Athletic Club and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and even owned the Detroit Wolverines baseball team.
After the drugmaker outgrew its buildings at Porter and 21st streets, the firm hired Stratton & Baldwin to design this building on East Jefferson Avenue at Bellevue.
The company moved into its new home in January 1900. Albert Kahn handled an addition in 1910.
The company was sold in 1944 to the Sterling Drug Co. In 1989, the building was converted into the Lofts at Rivertown.
Stearns' home has recently undergone a renovation. It is located at 8109 E. Jefferson Ave.