During the 1880’s, it was discovered that the clay in the vicinity of Alfred, NY could be used to make quality terra cotta products. In 1889 the Celadon Terra Cotta Company was organized by a small group of Alfred entrepreneurs to manufacture bricks and roofing tile (see examples in the photo to right, uncovered during the recent construction of the McLane Annex).
The company prospered and was partially responsible for locating the New York School of Clayworking (now the New York State College of Ceramics) in Alfred. In 1906, the company was sold to the Ludowici Company of Ohio, which became the Ludowici-Celadon Company. By that time the original tile works had expanded until it covered more than an acre of ground, occupying the space where presently are located Alfred University’s McLane Center and its parking lot.
The plant was completely destroyed by fire on the morning of August 26, 1909, except for the small office building which stood separately along North Main Street (and now sits at the intersection by the traffic light). While the tile factory was not rebuilt after the fire, many of its products can still be seen in town on various roof tops and on the exterior of the “Terra Cotta” building.