Ivoryton

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Ivoryton is a small village in the town of Essex in the state of Connecticut in the United States. It was known for its production of pianos in the early 20th century and takes its name from the ivory industry that imported tusks. In the beginning combs, buttons, toothpicks, billiard balls, and other items were made in Ivoryton. Later they moved toward piano keys and eventually also made piano movements. There is not a single town, city, or place named Ivoryton anywhere else in the world.

At its height, 90% of the ivory in the United States went through Ivoryton.[citation needed] The Comstock and Cheney Company had a strong presence in the area, building two factories, a store, recreation hall, sports field, and housing complex in the area.

The oldest known historical document relating to Ivoryton is the 1880 document authorizing the building of a town post office.[citation needed]

Places[edit]

  • Library: The Ivoryton Library is one of two libraries in the town of Essex. It has a smaller collection than the Essex Library but still maintains numerous books.
  • Ivoryton Store: The Comstock, Cheney and Co. factory store was located at the corner of Main Street and Ivory Street for years. It later became Rose Brothers, another grocery store, and, more recently, was the Ivoryton Store. The Ivoryton Store relocated to Route 153 in Essex and the building in Ivoryton has recently been renovated. It is now home to "Gather," an antiques store that also serves coffee and pastries.
Ivoryton Memorial Chapel, about 1912
  • Ivoryton Inn: Built in 1841, the former housing center for the workers at Comstock, Cheney and Co. became known as the Ivoryton Inn. The Inn has previously reopened twice with the first floor space being occupied by Cugino's Restaurant followed by Tuskan Restaurant.
  • Post Office: One of Essex's three post offices sits in Ivoryton, serving those residents with a zip code of 06442.
  • Fire Station: Essex has two fire stations, one of which is located in Ivoryton on Summit Street. It is technically a sub-station, but has several trucks and other capacities. It is known for its horn, which blows every day at noon and seven times when there is a fire.
  • Churches: There are two churches in Ivoryton. The Ivoryton Congregational Church sits down the road towards Centerbrook. The Episcopal Church sits next to the Inn on Main Street.
  • Ivoryton Playhouse: The Ivoryton Playhouse, formerly the recreation hall for the workers of Comstock, Cheney and Co., is currently a year-round professional theater, with its shows produced by the Ivoryton Playhouse Foundation. It sits on the corner of Main Street and Summit Street.
A piano keyboard factory, pictured in a 1908 postcard
  • Comstock Field: Comstock Field is a public sports field with two baseball fields and a soccer field. It is located at the end of Park Road, which is off Walnut Street. It was built by the Comstock and Cheney Company for their company baseball team and is used by Essex Little League today.
  • The Piano Factories: The first factory sits off Main Street, across from the former Ivoryton Inn. It is a large, white building, which was bought by Pratt and Read from Deep River and is currently used by Moeller Instrument Company. The second factory was built after the turn of the 20th century by Comstock and Cheney. It is much bigger than the first factory, and features several tall office-type buildings as well as manufacturing floors. It has a smoke tower, a clock tower and a water tower behind it which reads 'PIANOS.' It was also bought by Pratt and Read Company and was later used by Sohmer Piano Company. It serves as a light industrial/commercial complex serving a number of small businesses.
  • The Ivoryton Tavern & Cafe: A tavern and cafe in the town of Ivoryton. It is located directly across the street from the Ivoryton Playhouse. The building dates back to the late 19th century.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°20′54″N 72°26′21″W / 41.34833°N 72.43917°W / 41.34833; -72.43917