Charles Darling Parks

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Charles Darling Parks (August 5, 1869 in New Brunswick, New Jersey – September 14, 1929 in Danbury, Connecticut) was a Hatting manufacturer. He was the son of Frederick Hiram and Louise (Price) Parks. Parks was orphaned at an early age, and lived with relatives in Brooklyn, New York, Rochelle, Illinois and Danbury, Connecticut, acquiring his early education in various schools. He began his business career in 1888 as a dealer of hides and tallows in Danbury, Conneccticut, and two years later, in association with Edward Solomon Parks, his brother, and John Norris, organized the Danbury Fertilizer Co. for the manufacture of fertilizer. Early in 1894 he purchased from his partners the hide and tallow division of this company. The fat and bones he rendered into tallow, thus turning elements previously regarded as quite valueless into sources of large profits. In this departure he laid the foundation of his life success. Around 1896, with his brother Edward, he inaugurated the enterprise of recovering shellac from stiff hat roundings, which until this time had been regarded as worthless by-products of the hat factories. This business proved successful from its inception, especially after he had learned to treat the fur product after removal of the shellac, so that with other furs it could be utilized in the manufacture of felt hats. In January 1901 he formed a partnership with Joseph P. McGovern of New York, then the senior partner in the firm of J.P. McGovern & Bro., brokers in hatter's furs, in order to further expand the business of the manufacture of hatter's furs. This business, incorporated as American Hatters and Furriers Corp., with a capital of $50,000, was increasingly successful year by year, and in 1906 was reorganized as the American Hatters and Furriers Co., Inc., with a capital of $500,000. Mr. Parks was president and manager of this company, with Mr. McGovern acting as treasurer and vice president. After Mr. McGovern's death in 1912, the business continued with Mr. Mercier as treasurer. When Mr. Parks died, the capital was $1,250,000. In 1903 Mr. Parks organized the Connecticut Glue Co., of which he was President and Mr. McGovern treasurer. This company was organized to make use of the by-product from the cutting of rabbit skins, the pelt being used to good advantage in the manufacture of "Pure Rabbit Skin Glue." Like his other ventures, this undertaking proved a great success. Mr. Parks was also president of Star Oil Co., Sunfast Hats, Inc., and Irving Trust Co. As a controlling stockholder in Parks-Mercier, Inc., and as president of the C. D. Parks Co., he was interested in large realty holdings. On his extensive country estate in Danbury, "Tarrywile", he maintained a large dairy establishment stocked with the finest breeds of cattle and the most modern equipment. In the management of this enterprise he also applied his high natural talent for business, so effective in other fields, and made it a profit-yielding undertaking as well as a source of relaxation and keen enjoyment. Mr. Parks was vice president of the Danbury Agricultural Society, which conducts the Danbury Fair; vice president of the Danbury Chamber of Commerce; a member of the Danbury board of finance; and a trustee of the Wooster School, Danbury. For his extraordinary record in selling Libery Loan bonds during World War I, he received a special testimonial from the United States government. His clubs were the Bridgewood Country and the Danbury clubs of Danbury; the Norwalk Country Club; the Algonquin Club of Bridgeport; the Chemists Club of New York City and the Metabetchuan Club of Canada. Mr. Parks was a man of impressing presence, of excellent qualities of character and friendly manner. Although determined resourceful and calculating in the business deliberate in forming his opinions, cautious in his judgements, and adamant in his convictions, he was able to relinquish cares and the join in the lighter enjoyments of life. A man of cultivated tastes and keen intellect, he was a lover of nature and of good literature and music. He was married on December 4, 1889 to Eleanor Sophia, the daughter of Wallace Bruce Parks, of Moreau, New York. They had two daughters: Irene, wife of Louis Chadwick Rathmell; and Jeanette Darling, wife of Donald Alexander Davis. Mr. Parks died at Danbury, Connecticut on September 14, 1929.


The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography. Volume 22. New York: James T. White & Co., 1932.

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