The OHS Pipe Organ Database

St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception R.C. Church / Basilica
232 Chapel Street
Norfolk, Virginia 23504

OHS Database ID 469.

See the address on Google Maps.


This organ received OHS Citation number 23, 1979-11-17.

Status and Condition

The state of this organ is unknown to the database, being undocumented or unreported.
We received the most recent update on this organ's state and condition April 16, 2008.

Technical Details

Slider chests. Mechanical key action. Mechanical stop action.

Three manuals. 33 stops. 36 registers. 36 ranks. Manual compass is 56 notes. Pedal compass is 25 notes.

The organ is in a gallery-level case at the rear of the room. There are hinged doors that enclose keyboards. There is an attached keydesk en fenêtre.

Drawknobs in vertical rows on flat jambs. Balanced swell shoes/pedals, not in standard AGO position. No combination action. Flat straight pedalboard.


  • Status Note: There 1979 (OHS PC Database. October 30, 2004)
  • [Incorrectly believe to have been exhibited at the Philadelphia International Exhibition 1851.] (OHS PC Database. October 30, 2004)
  • Updated through online information from Richard J Maryman. -- The organ is complete, with some damage sustained to pipes in the Gread and Pedal divisions. Choir and Swell are intact, unharmed. There is much debris in organ resulting from recent renovation work on church's steeple. Blower has no live current to motor, is located aprox. 40 to 50 feet above organ in tower, would need to be removed by crane. Oil in blower bearings congealed, bearings on poor condition. will need a thorough cleaning to make playable, reservoirs are not original, some casework is altered. -- manual compass of 56 notes (Database Manager. April 16, 2008)

Online Documents

Currently we have no online documents associated with this organ entry. If you can provide us with digital files of contracts, correspondence, dedication programs, or any similar items, please follow this link to our document upload form to send them to us.

If you would like more information about documents included in the Database, please see our Documents Information page.

Other Websites

The database contains no links to external websites that describe this organ. If you know of any sites that contain information about it, please use the Update form to send us the URL.


Click on a thumbnail to see the larger image in a new tab.

Manuals and Right Drawknobs. Photograph by Shawn Brown 2013-08-03
. Photograph by Shawn Brown 2014-08-03
Left Drawknobs. Photograph by Shawn Brown 2014-08-03

If you can provide us with additional photographs, you may upload them through our online form. For further information please see our expectations for adding photographs.



When they are available, stoplists for organs are included in the Database. To make corrections in stoplists that you see here, please send details via e-mail to rather than submitting a new stoplist through our online form.

  • Typed stoplist. Source: From William T. Van Pelt (OHS Archives)
    Norfolk, Virginia
    St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church
    Ferris & Stuart   1858                   3 manuals, 36 registers, 33 stops, 36 ranks
             GREAT ORGAN                              SWELL ORGAN
          8' 1st Open Diapason Metal   56         16' Bourdon (TC)              44
          8' Open Diapason Wood        56          8' Open Diapason (TC)        44
          8' Gamba                     56          8' Dulciana (TC)             44
          8' Melodia (TC)              44          8' Voix Celestes (TC)        44
          8' Stop Diapason Treble (TC) 44          8' Stop Diapason Treble (TC) 44
          8' Stop Diapason Bass        12          8' Stop Diapason Bass        12
          4' Principal                 56          4' Principal                 56
          4' Night Horn                56          2' Fifteenth                 56
          4' Rohr Flute *              56             Cornet II *              112
      2 2/3' Twelfth                   56          8' Trumpet (TC)              44
          2' Fifteenth                 56          8' Hautboy (TC)              44
             Sesquialtra III          168
          8' Trumpet                   56             PEDAL ORGAN
                                                  16' Open Diapason             25
             CHOIR ORGAN (unenclosed)             16' Stop Diapason             25
          8' Open Diapason             56          8' Violoncello               25
          8' Dulciana (TC)             56         16' Trombone                  25
          8' Stop Diapason Treble (TC) 44
          8' Stop Diapason Bass        12             COUPLERS
          4' Principal                 56             Gr. & Sw. Coupler
          4' Flute (TC)                44             Gr. & Ch. Coupler
          2' Fifteenth                 56             Ch. & Sw. Coupler
          8' Clarionet (TC)            44             Ped. & Gt. Coupler *
             Tremolo (later addition)                 Ped. & Ch. Coupler
                                                      Bellows Alarm
                                                      No Machine Action
                                                      * original stop label missing
    Richard A. Garrett of Norfolk has known St. Mary's organ since 1938, and recently
    completed a refurbishing project that was begun in 1975 during the pastorate of
    Father Thomas Quinlan who was advised by St. Mary's parishoner and former organist,
    Brandon Spence. Funds for the work were raised by members of the parish. Garrett
    replaced trackers and some squares, replaced a 32-note concave radiating pedal board
    which did not function with a proper 25-note flat pedal board, replaced the missing
    knee panel, replaced some damaged pipes with new ones fashioned to be identical to
    the old ones, had the keyboard recovered in ivory by Pratt & Read of lvoryton,
    Connecticut (retaining the black keyfronts which are thought to be original),
    replaced the deteriorated leather chest channel bottoms with rubber cloth, added new
    metal wind lines to augment existing wooden wind lines, and generally cleaned the
    instrument. With the help of Richard Garrett, Robert Campbell, Frank Lybolt, and the
    observations E. A. Boadway, George Bozeman, Jr., Peter Cameron, the late Cleveland
    Fisher, Alan M. Laufman, James R. McFarland, Dr. John Ogasapian, and Iawrence
    Trupiano, all members of the Organ Historical Society, some notes can be recorded
    about the organ's current status and changes which have been made.
    Richard Garrett added the tremolo to the Choir division in 1938, while the organ had
    a single, large wind reservoir and could still be hand pumped. Around 1954 a period
    began when the organ was under the care of Harry H. Groenwegen who had worked for
    the now defunct Standart Organ Company of Suffolk. Groenwegen replaced the original
    reservoir with two smaller, weighted, single-rise reservoirs, placed tuning collars
    on all of the pipes, replaced the Great Trumpet, Pedal Trombone, and Swell Hautboy,
    and installed the 32-note pedal board since removed.
    The Great is on adjoining "C" and "C-sharp" chests, with the pallets in front and
    the reed rank at the rear. The Choir is behind the Great on a chest with eight
    basses rollered to the C-sharp end; the Swell is above, with tuning doors on the
    sides, reed tuning panels below the shades, and the pipework is arranged with the
    basses in the center. The Pedal is on two large slider chests at the rear, the C and
    C-sharp sections having abutting toeboards and the basses are in the center. The
    organ has no winkers, and is well designed for maintenance.
    The Open Diapason Wood is an unusual stop fashioned of clarabella-like pipes, with
    open wood basses. The Gamba is a mild gemshorn rank with long ears, and is likely to
    have been a bell gamba before the tuning collars were added. The Stop Diapason is of
    wood; the Night Horn is a wide-scale metal rank which seems to have been made louder,
    the Rohr Flute is an original open wood rank with eight metal trebles, the
    Sesquialtra III is composed l2-15-17 with a break to 8'12'15 at the top octave
    replicating the original with what appear to be recent pipes, and the Trumpet is a
    recent replacement with French double blocks.
    In the Swell, the Bourdon is of wood; the Voix Celestes, an exceedingly unusual stop
    in America in the 1850's, is original, is surely the oldest extant Celeste in the
    United States, and is of slightly larger scale than the Dulciana; the Stop Diapason
    is of wood; the Trumpet has common metal resonators, seven flue trebles, and appears
    original with a few replacement pipes; the Hautboy is a recent replacement in the
    style of a schalmei with a one-half length tenor octave and no flue trebles; and the
    Cornet is of two ranks composed 12-17 and a top octave breaking to 8-12.
    The Choir Open Diapason has offset unmitered zinc basses; the Stop Diapason is of
    wood; the Flute is chimneyed, has movable caps and large ears, appears to be a
    replacement rank, is inscribed "Roerflute," and has 12 tapered trebles; the Clarionet
    has cylindrical resonators and seven flue trebles.
    The Pedal division has open and stopped ranks of wood, the Violoncello is a large
    zinc rank and may not date from 1858, and the unmitered Trombone is of zinc and is a
    recent replacement.
                         Notes on the organ and its history gathered from
                         several sources by William T. Van Pelt
    [Received from Steven E. Lawson  2017-05-01]
  • Click Here Typed stoplist. Source: From William T. Van Pelt (OHS Archives) Plain text; will open in a new window or tab.