PIANO MAN. Mott Haven page sparks family reminiscence

by Kevin Walsh

A note from ForgottenFan Ron Bollerman:

I wanted to write and thank you for your page on “Mott Haven”. It helped me to find a building that my great, great grandfather owned – the Bollermann & Son Piano Factory.

Their business ran from 1890 to approx. 1915 at 132nd Street and Lincoln Avenue. We have an old business card and by the address, in NYC, we always assumed that it was in Manhattan. My Dad and I had even gone to where that address would be today (in manhattan) and found it to be in the middle of the F.D.R. Drive. We were of course very disappointed. I mistakenly also assumed that Lincoln Ave was lost underneath the FDR.

Bollermann business card, front and back, showing factory at Lincoln Avenue and East 132nd Street

Over the past weekend, I stumbled upon your website and read the page on Mott Haven. When I saw the image of the Estey building, I realized our mistake. When we visited 132nd Street in Manhattan, I remember seeing it across the Harlem River and thinking for a moment that it may be the Bollermann factory. As you can see by the business card, it is similar as the Bollermann building once had towers on two corners.

So, I trekked out to the Bronx yesterday and lo and behold, what you indicated was the Kroeger factory was indeed, originally, the Bollermann factory. After doing some other research, I am certain that Kroeger bought it from the family when we sold it about 1915. Kroeger’s business had moved from CT. to NYC and their ads began appearing in local papers about the same time, 1915.

Bollermann-Kroeger piano factory on Lincoln Avenue (left) and Bruckner Blvd. (right)

I also found that the building next door, on 132nd St. was originally the Ruppert Beer Co. and Ice Plant. Ruppert owned the Yankees and his own brewery. There was a major fire in the plant in July of 1903. According to a NY Times article, people escaped from the building by jumping to the roof of the Bollermann piano factory.

Thanks for the photos and reminiscences, Ron…

More Bollermann information in Player-care.com