Status and Condition
This organ has been rebuilt or substantially revised.
We received the most recent update on this organ's state and condition February 18, 2017.
Slider chests. Mechanical key action. Mechanical stop action.
Two manuals. 3 divisions.
Manual compass is 58 notes.
Pedal compass is 27 notes.
The organ is in side chambers at the front of the room, with visible façade pipes or case front.
There are hinged doors that enclose keyboards.
There is an attached keydesk en fenêtre.
Balanced swell shoes/pedals, not in standard AGO position.
- Identified through on-line information from James R. Stettner. -- According to the Feb. 27, 2009 BACHorgan.com Weekly Rampage (IX:8), the church is strongly considering resurrecting their Woodberry & Harris. It was replaced in 1970 with an electronic that is now in its death throes, but most of the pipework and the chests are intact. (Database Manager. March 1, 2009)
- Updated by Scot Huntington, who has heard or played the organ.
The organ was electrified by William Laws, date presently unconfirmed. Church members indicate Laws added additional stops, likely to the pedal, in the area underneath the organ windchests. The Great chest and upper casework are cantilevered out over the head of the organist. In 1969 an unknown Swell stop was replaced by Laws with a 4' Rohr Flute made of mid-nineteenth century metal chimney flutes.
Inexplicably, four years later the organ was abandoned and replaced with an electronic substitute. The front portion of the Great chest was de-piped and the electronic speakers placed thereupon. The blower, windsystem, pedal pipes and chests, and all mechanism was removed at this time. The area at the rear of the chamber which contained the original Pedal open wood Diapason 16' and Bourdon 16' was walled off and converted into a Sacristy.
Unusual for Boston-built organs of the period, the Great upperwork was placed inside the Swell box. The derelict portions of the organ are still extant in 2017, comprising the Great and Swell chests, Swell box and shades, some framework, and all pipework contained with the Swell enclosure. The original stoplist of the organ can be ascertained with relative conviction any analyzing the extant toeboards. The organ contained several prepared-for stops and blank toeboards that were never fulfilled.
The manual windchests have an "N" configuration: 1-12 diatonic, then chromatic from tenor-c. The facade contains the speaking basses of the Great Open Diapason 1-22, and Dulciana 1-11. The added Rohrflute stands on the toeboard closest to the walkboard in front of the Oboe, using an old rackboard with considerably larger borings. The Swell 4' Gemshorn is an unusual stop for Woodberry, and may be a Laws substitution. Further investigation is required to determine if the 8' Celeste is original, spurious pipework, or a repitched Swell 4' string. There is sufficient material of high quality remaining to form the nucleus of a new or reconstructed instrument. A replacement electronic is an option the church is considering in 2017. (James Cook. February 11, 2017)
- Updated by Scot Huntington, who has heard or played the organ.
A detailed examination of the remains on February 13, 2017 explained earlier questions relating to the organ's disposition, and I had access to archival documents which were not available to me in 2007. Pipework notations confirmed the opus number (102), the year of installation (1894), and the windpressure (3 1/4"). The manual compass is 61 notes, and the facade contains 18 Open Diapason basses, not 22, and instead there are four Octave 4' basses in the facade. The Swell Bourdon 16' and Stopt Diapason 8' (Doppel Flote) are from two different makers, and the Bourdon 16' appears to be older pipes, unfinished pine, and is labeled in pencil with rectangular stopper handles. The Stopt Diapason is labeled with rubber stamps, has long oval stopper handles, and the double-mouthed trebles fit perfectly on the toeboard, suggesting these were not a later revision.
The Swell Rohrflute 4' was installed by Laws in 1969 on the toeboard in front of the Oboe. These are recycled 19th-century metal pipes labeled Stopt Diapason, with soldered caps and tuned on the ears. The rack and toeboard for this stop have old borings, confirming this toeboard was occupied at least since 1929 and likely earlier. It has been suggested the Oboe was originally on this toeboard and sifted one row back when the flute was installed, but the Oboe skyrack attached to the walls of the Swell box, is original as are rack location witness marks. The pipe markings indicate the Gemshorn, Flageolt, and Celeste are in fact original.
Examination of the unenclosed section of Great toeboards suggests there were two four-foot stops, and four foundation stops in front of them- one of which may have been a preparation. These toeboards are currently inaccessible under the speaker array. The 1969 stoplist printed as part of the dedication service for the memorial 4' Rohrflute lists three 8' stops and two 4' stops on the Great.
The chamber walls are thick, made of stone and brick. Originally there was a small opening between the chamber and the nave filled with a flat of 7 large non-speaking 8' basses, which Laws had sealed up.
William Laws electrified the organ in 1929. No further details are known. An electric blower was added at this time, replacing an original water motor. Laws was also the installer of the Rohrflute 4' in 1969. No contract has been found, so details of any additional work are unknown. The installation of this rank of pipes was poorly done, and the pipes are rather mangled.
A 1915 photo of the chancel gives a tantalizingly small glimpse of the upper part of the keydesk area. The keydesk doors were reused inside the organ case to cover a make-shift music cupboard. Close inspection of the photo suggests the stop jambs may have been vertical and at an angle to the keyboards. This is an atypical organ for American taste: cantilevered Great, Great upperwork enclosed with Swell, recessed keydesk, and non-traditional specification. This suggests that either an organist with knowledge of English organbuilding or James Cole had a strong influence over the disposition. (James Cook. February 18, 2017)
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