Estey Piano Company Factory receives hearing

New York’s oldest known piano factory begins landmarking process. On April 11, 2006, Landmarks held a public hearing on the Estey Piano Factory, located at 112 Lincoln Avenue in the Mott Haven area of the Bronx. The factory was built between 1885 and 1886 by the firm of A. D. Ogden and Sons. An addition was added in 1890, and further additions were built between 1895 and 1919. Though not as renowned as Astoria for Steinway Pianos’ factory, Mott Haven was once a center of piano manufacturing in the United States with more than 50 firms with factories in the area.

Currently housing artists’ studios, the Estey Piano factory is the oldest such factory in New York, and a focal point of the Mott Haven neighborhood. Its signature seven and one-half-story clock tower is visible from the waterfront and the Harlem River, and the brick facade building is a well-preserved example of late 19th-century industrial architecture in the American round arch tradition.

At the April hearing, Landmarks Chair Robert B. Tierney said, “the time is right for a fresh look,” referring to a previous 1992 hearing. Community representative Edward Kirkland, who supported designation, spoke of the clock tower “staying intact through a century of change and decay” in the South Bronx. Calendaring the factory for designation seemed enthusiastically supported by the Commission, with Commissioner Christopher Moore asking whether there were any other piano factories that Landmarks might be interested in designating. The research department responded that it was studying other similar buildings in the area.

LPC: Estey Piano Company Factory, 112 Lincoln Avenue (LP-2195) (April 11, 2006).

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