chickering piano factory boston

The Importance of Continuity

Steve Ellis Thoughts Comments

In 1972, my father, a Boston-based developer and contractor, got to renovate Boston’s historic Chickering & Sons Piano factory. Among the most prolific piano manufacturers of the 19th century, Chickering was the company responsible for the piano PT Barnum used for world-renowned Swedish opera singer Jenny Lind’s 1850, 93-city concert tour.

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Chickering & Sons piano factory circa 1895

Transforming the Tremont Street structure into one of Boston’s more sought-after venues for artists’ lofts, my father’s work ensured that a place built to sustain art and commerce, in one form or another, would continue in that realm.

So just how important is continuity? The answer is not so obvious.

In a traditional sense, without continuity, our luxury custom home building business would not be sustainable. Like most businesses, we must be consistent in our work and continuously meet the demand for our services.

But in a more profound sense, continuity (or the lack of it) is a multi-layered, essential concept –all the way to the core.

My 11-year-old daughter loves to ride horses, and through a continuous practice regimen gets better at it every year. Underneath all of that, however, her mother and my continuous support and encouragement help give her the confidence she needs to succeed at each lesson, even on days when things don’t go the way she’d planned.

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The factory in the 1960’s

As parents, we know the importance of continuity because our parents provided it for us. The unabated emotional investment they made in our development enabled us to become the kind of responsible, caring adults and parents we hope we are. We recognize they are human and there must have been times when they could not provide at the same high levels, but when all stitched together, our young, healthy family is the result of their sustained efforts.

chickering piano factory boston

The Chickering & Sons building today.

Today life is inundated with immeasurable stress and battling priorities that can thwart any attempt at continuity. We just don’t have the time to invest, or if we do, we may be too tired to provide it. In remembering this and consciously returning ourselves to the practice, however, we may continue to produce good results and, like the old Chickering & Sons Piano factory, set the tone for generations to come.