From the church website history page: In 1913, the church sanctuary was designed by member Louis Keil. He was best known as a designer of steamship interiors. Henry Malo, also a church member, supervised the construction of the original church building.
The church’s first organ was a three manual (keyboard) Roosevelt. In 1952, the Roosevelt was replaced by the four manual Austin organ we have today. The Austin organ, manufactured in 1921, was purchased from Detroit’s West Methodist Church which was demolished for an expressway.
Pipe organs developed during the middle ages. By the 1500’s, they were one of the most complex machines ever developed. In the twentith centruy, pipe organs were electrified and the bellows, that force air through the pipes, were no longer manually operated. Complex pipe organ settings influenced the developement of the first computers.
The Austin organ console, in the sanctuary, has four manuals of keys and a thirty-two pedal keyboard played with the feet. There are “32 adjustable combinations pistons…six toe pistons and right masters controlling all divisions.” The shipping weight of the organ was 15 tons.
The “chest” of the organ is a room to the right of the altar. All of the organ pipes can be accessed from there. The wooden walls of the chest actually move when the organ is being played. Pipes may be made of wood or metal and range greatly in size. Leather is still used for moving parts. The brass colored pipes visible to the congregation are only for decoration. The organ underwent extensive repairs in 2008.
Information identifying this instrument from the Austin Organs, Inc. web site, accessed December 31, 2004: http://www.austinorgans.com/organ-research.htm.
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