Board Member Emeritus Ellsworth Gregory Tunes Center’s 150-Year-Old Piano
Ellsworth “Greg” Gregory
Ellsworth “Greg” Gregory, Historical Society President from 1992 to 2008, is shown tuning the Center’s antique piano prior to the playing of Christmas music for the Society’s annual 2016 Christmas Party.
According to Ellsworth, who has tuned this 150-year-old piano twice before, all seven of its octaves are still in reasonable tune. It was made by then renowned Decker Brothers of New York and sold for $625 in the 1860s ($10,500 today). It was shipped by a “Clipper” sailing ship around South America’s Cape Horn to San Francisco and stood in the Hatton family’s parlor in Carmel Valley for many decades before coming to the History Center.
The piano was made with 52 ivory and 36 ebony hardwood keys, 88 in all. Use of ivory keys was banned in the 1950s due to the illegal poaching of animals and today’s keys are made entirely from modern plastics. Interestingly, some pianists maintain that they can sense a difference in touch and responsiveness between plastic and ivory keys.
Ellsworth, 89, has tuned pianos for symphonies and concerts, for the rich and famous, and for countless residents of Monterey County for over 60 years. Remarkably, he has tuned the piano in the bar of the Mission Ranch Restaurant in Carmel for over half a Century!
Now for the first time you can download a full 56-page file of the Centennial Newspaper for your enjoyment. This rare issue contains many historical articles about Carmel Valley, such as: Ranching, Native Indians, noteworthy families, old schools, Valley Library service history, fire departments, churches, parks, and much more.
This year’s annual Christmas Party was another success. The Christmas Tree was trimmed by members Cherie Ohlson and Josh Scheid and several members pitched in with wine and finger food. We all look forward to this annual event to reacquaint with old friends!
Don’t miss our newest exhibit, coming soon: THE GEOLOGY OF CARMEL VALLEY. Plan to join us on Saturday, September 22nd from 4:00 – 6:00pm and enjoy light bites & a beverage while you learn about this fascinating subject. This exhibit explores, in an interesting and understandable…
Please join us on Saturday, April 21st, for the Historical Society’s Annual Meeting & New Exhibit, “Rusticating in Carmel Valley: 1870s–1940s,” a story of the resorts, ranches and camps of the time period and the activities (wild & otherwise) that enticed people “to take in the rural environment.”
The Carmel River Watershed Conservancy sponsored this visit by the Tularcitos School 3rd graders and some parents on March 9th. Afterwards they were treated with a tour of the old San Clemente dam site.