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16. Pond’s Extract Company Factory, 1929, 1935, and 1958 – 1 John Street
Art Deco Style, with International Style addition
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The main and original portion of this building is a three‐story, poured concrete and steel structure with seven-bay façade, centered entry, slightly projecting entry pavilion, stepped parapet, and flat roof. There are full‐height concrete pilasters dividing the façade and south (side) bays, the former consisting of three-story window bays divided by red-brick spandrels. The pilasters at the corner of the buildings and in the pavilion are of a multi-sided pattern with geometric profile, as are three recessed panels in the pavilion’s parapet. Fenestration throughout the building primarily consists of ribbon windows, many with fixed panels and hopper openings. A large concrete block addition is present on the north side of the building. The addition is two stories in height, and is characterized by its unbroken walls with row of upper-story ribbon windows and a flat roof.

This building is architecturally significant as a well-preserved example of an Art Deco and International Style manufacturing and office facility. Erected by the Pond’s company in 1929, the original Art Deco section of the building replaced a number of frame structures built by the company and its predecessor, the Whittemore Soap Factory, between c. 1880 and 1928. The three-story wing at the rear of the main block was added by Pond’s in 1935, while the two-story block to the north of the original block was added in a 1958 expansion.
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The Pond’s Extract Company, now a division of the Dutch conglomerate Unilever, has been a major employer in Clinton since 1888. The company began in Utica, New York in 1846, as a partnership between a Native American medicine man of the Oneida tribe and a druggist named Theron T. Pond. Pond, the medicine man, and another partner sold the right to their product to investors and it was first sold as “Pond’s Extract,” in 1857. This product continued to be distilled in New York State until 1872, whereupon the distillery was moved to Chester, Connecticut due to the local availability of wild witch hazel, a critical ingredient. The move to Clinton came in 1888, after a fire destroyed the Chester distillery and the company decided to consolidate the majority of its bottling and manufacturing operations in the former Whittemore Soap Factory on John Street.

The Pond’s Extract Company prospered at its new location and in 1906, all machinery still located in the Brooklyn plant was shipped to Clinton by barge. Cold and vanishing creams were soon added to the Pond’s product line and in 1924 the company began its landmark advertising campaign featuring testimonials from prominent American Society women and European royalty. The company’s first concrete building was erected in 1929 and sales continued to be strong even during the depression. The Pond’s Extract Company merged with the Chesebrough Manufacturing Company in 1955, thus forming Chesebrough-Pond’s, Inc. It continued to consolidate its operations in Clinton through the late 1950s and all wooden buildings were eventually replaced with new concrete structures. New brands continued to be added to the company’s product line during the early 1960s and by 1963 the Clinton plant employed over 700 people. In 1986, the company was acquired by Unilever, which in 2011 announced plans to close the Clinton facility at the end of 2012, thus ending Pond’s 124-year presence in the town.