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National Register of Historic Places Program

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources.


Property Name Ivoryton Historic District
Reference Number 13000895
State Connecticut
County Middlesex
Town Ivoryton
Street Address Roughly bounded by Main St., North Main St., Oak St., Blake St., Summit St., Park Rd., and Comstock Ave.
Multiple Property Submission Name N/A
Status Listed 4/15/2014
Areas of Significance Industry, Community Planning and Development, Social History
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"The Ivoryton Historic District is significant under Criteria A, B, and C at the state and local levels as a well-preserved example of a nineteenth-century company town built by Comstock, Cheney, & Co., an ivory import and manufacturing business established in the 1860s by Ivoryton native Samuel Merritt Comstock and partner George A. Cheney. Its resources illustrate important contributions to the development of the ivory industry in the United States as well as the socioeconomic phenomenon of the ""company town"" in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. At the local level, the district represents Connecticut River Valley industry in the late nineteenth century as well as the brief period of increased worker immigration from Sweden, Germany, Italy, and Poland to Connecticut up until the start of World War I, illustrated by segregated worker housing in various locations throughout Ivoryton. The two largest American ivory manufacturers, Comstock, Cheney, & Co. and Pratt, Read & Co., were located just a few miles away from one another along the Connecticut River, and commanded a monopoly on all ivory production in the United States. Between 1860 and 1938, ""Ivoryton"" (unique among American town names) became a self-sufficient industrial center that employed and housed up to 600 workers, many of them immigrants, at its height. The historic district consists of early Colonial structures representing the agrarian village before its industrial transformation, mid- to late-nineteenth-century ivory processing and manufacturing buildings, high-style Victorian homes for company executives, modest vernacular homes and tenements for factory workers, and public buildings such as churches, a post office, company store, library, and a town meeting hall. Although some of the factory buildings have been demolished, the industry-defining bleach houses are gone, many houses have been remodeled, and the village itself sustained damage in a flood in 1982, Ivoryton's historic character remains intact as an example of a planned community not unlike more formalized ""company towns"" in an industry unique to the Connecticut River Valley. The period of significance ranges from the construction of earliest known extant building (Joseph Parker Homestead; ca. 1719) to the divestment of company-owned housing in 1938."

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Properties are listed in the National Register of Historic Places under four criteria: A, B, C, and D. For information on what these criterion are and how they are applied, please see our Bulletin on How to Apply the National Register Criteria