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On the basis of a careful consideration of the history, the architecture, and the other features of this building, the Landmarks Preservation Commission finds that the Estey Piano Company Fac- tory has a special character and a special historical and aesthetic interest and value as part of the development, heritage, and cultural characteristics of New York City.

The Commission further finds that among its important qualities, the Estey Piano Company Factory, which features robust brick facades and a high corner clock tower, is a distinguished monu- ment to the piano industry, which was once of the Bronx’s most important; that it has anchored the northeast corner of Lincoln Avenue and Southern (now Bruckner) Boulevard since 1886, when its original portion was completed; that it is the oldest-known former piano factory standing in the Bronx today; that it is 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; that today, as in decades past, the building’s signature clock tower and expansive facades, simply but elegantly de- tailed with terra cotta, patterned brick, and contrasting stone, are visible from the waterfront and nearby Harlem River bridges, making it a true neighborhood landmark; that 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; that many of these factories produced pianos or their components, and that by 1919, the Bronx had more than 60 such factories, making it one of America’s piano manufac- turing centers; that, as 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 Fac- tory was credited with providing “an unusual stimulus” for the movement of other piano makers there; that several of the piano manufacturers that followed the Estey company to the Annexed Dis- trict, and later the Bronx, clustered within a few blocks of its factory, creating an important nucleus for the industry; that the Estey Organ Company of Brattleboro, Vermont was one of the country’s largest producers of reed organs in 1885, when it joined with John B. Simpson, a pioneering North Side piano manufacturer, to form the Estey Piano Company; that Estey upright and grand pianos were recognized for their “superior construction and workmanship”; that the original portion of the Estey Piano Company Factory was created by the architectural firm of A.B. Ogden & Son; that many of the original building’s features, including its L-shaped plan, flat roof, regular fenestration pattern and bay arrangement, and relatively narrow width to allow for daylight penetration to the interior, are charac- teristic of late-nineteenth-century factory buildings; that its mixture of segmental- and round-headed window openings, and the Romanesque machicolations of its clock tower, place it within the tradition of the American round-arched style; that other features, including its distinctive, red-orange brick, dogtoothed and zigzagging patterned-brick stringcourses, recessed brick panels, terra cotta tiles fea- turing festoons, lions’ heads, and foliate motifs, and its dramatic, projecting clock tower, speak of a building that sought to announce its presence on the urban landscape, projecting a strong public im- age for its owner; that the Estey Piano Company often included an illustration of this factory on its trade cards, which were used to promote its products; that the original building was extended to the east along Southern Boulevard in 1890, with a harmonious five-story addition designed by John B. Snook & Sons, and to the north, along Lincoln Avenue, with one-story additions in 1895; that the Lincoln Avenue additions appear to have been combined and expanded, and then raised to three sto- ries in 1909, and by an additional two stories in 1919; and that the 1919 addition near the southeast corner of Lincoln Avenue and 134th Street features broad expanses of industrial sash that were charac- teristic of the “daylight factories” of the early twentieth century; that its historic fabric remains almost completely intact; and that it has been described by the AIA Guide to New York City as “the grande dame of the piano trade: not virgin, but all-together and proud.”

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