October 2014, South End

piano factory

apt w117 (sonya kovacic)

apt w117 (sonya kovacic)

The Piano Factory, located on 791 Tremont street in the South End, is currently a stylish loft apartment building. But its history is interesting. Originally it was built by Chickering and Sons, an American piano manufacturer, in 1853, after a deadly fire destroyed the first factory on 336 Washington Street. From 1860-1868, the building housed the Spencer Repeating Rifle Company that supplied rifles during the Civil War, and in 1972, it was renovated into artist studios. 

Before Chickering and Sons, there was Chickering and MacKay, a partnership between Jonas Chickering and John MacKay. John MacKay, a businessman and sea captain, died at sea in 1841 on a trip to South America to get wood for piano cases. Eventually his portion of the company was bought out by the Chickering family.

Although no longer solely artist studios, the Piano Factory does have an art gallery in the front and a theater in the back.