Landmarks Preservation Commission May 16, 2006, Designation List 374 LP-2195
ESTEY PIANO COMPANY FACTORY, 112-128 Lincoln Avenue (aka 15-19 Bruckner Boulevard and 270-278 East 134th Street), Borough of the Bronx. Built 1885-86; A.B. Ogden & Son, architects; additions: John B. Snook & Sons, 1890; Hewlett S. Baker, 1895; S. Gifford Slocum, 1909; George F. Hogue, 1919.
Landmark Site: Bronx Borough Tax Map Block 2309, Lot 1, in part, consisting of the five-story building extending for 200 feet along the north side of Bruckner Boulevard east of Lincoln Avenue; 200 feet along the east side of Lincoln Avenue north of Bruckner Boulevard; and along a portion of the south side of East 134th Street east of Lincoln Avenue, including all adjoining elevator shafts, and the land on which it is sited.
On April 11, 2006, the Landmarks Preservation Commission held a public hearing on the proposed des- ignation as a Landmark of the Estey Piano Company Factory and the proposed designation of the related Landmark Site (Item No. 1). The hearing had been duly advertised in accordance with the provisions of the law. Two people, including a representative of the Historic Districts Council, spoke in favor of designation. The building had previously been heard by the Commission on June 2, 1992.
Featuring robust brick facades and a high corner clock tower, the former Estey Piano Company Factory is a distinguished monument to an industry that was once one of the Bronx’s most important. Anchoring the northeast corner of Lincoln Avenue and Southern (now Bruckner) Boulevard since 1886, when its original portion was com- pleted, the Estey building is the oldest- known former piano factory standing in the Bronx today. It is also one of the earliest large factories remaining in its Mott Haven neighborhood, dating from the period in which the area first experienced intensive industrial development. Today, as in dec- ades past, the building’s signature clock tower and expansive facades—simply but elegantly detailed with terra cotta, patterned brick, and contrasting stone—are visible from the waterfront and nearby Harlem River bridges, making the Estey Factory a true neighborhood landmark.
Manufacturing blossomed in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx during the 1880s, when new factories started springing up in the area east of Third Avenue. Many of these produced pianos or their components, and by 1919, the Bronx had more than 60 such factories, making it one of America’s piano-manufacturing centers. One of the city’s first piano factories to be built in the Annexed District or North Side, as the western portions of the Bronx were known between 1874 and 1898, the Estey building was credited with providing “an unusual stimulus” for the movement of other piano makers there. Several of the manufacturers that followed Estey to the Annexed District, and later the Bronx, clustered within a few blocks of its factory, creating an important nucleus for the piano industry.
The Estey Piano Company was organized by Jacob Estey and John B. Simpson in 1885. Two decades before, Estey had established an organ works in Brattleboro, Vt. that had grown into one of the country’s larg-