Pipe Organ Database

a project of the organ historical society

W. W. Kimball Co. (1929)


Residence: Stephen A. Gerrard
748 Betula Ave.
Cincinnati, OH 45229 US
Organ ID: 41964

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Status and Condition:

  • This instrument's location type is: Private Residences
  • The organ has been altered from its original state.
  • The organ's condition is not playable.
We received the most recent update for this instrument's status from Database Manager on November 11, 2019.

Technical Details:

  • Chests: EP pitman
  • 21 ranks. 4 divisions. 3 manuals. 21 stops. 59 registers.
  • Chest Type(s): EP pitman chests
  • Position: In side chambers at the front of the room. Facade pipes or case front visible.
We received the most recent update for this division from Database Manager on November 11, 2019.
  • Manuals: 3
  • Divisions: 4
  • Stops: 21
  • Registers: 59
  • Position: Console in fixed position, center.
  • Manual Compass: 61
  • Pedal Compass: 32
  • Key Action: Electrical connection from key to chest.
  • Stop Action: Electric connection between stop control and chest.
  • Console Style: Traditional style with roll top.
  • Combination Action: Adjustable combination pistons.
  • Swell Control Type: Balanced swell shoes/pedals.
  • Pedalboard Type: Concave radiating pedalboard.
  • Has Crescendo Pedal
  • Has Combination Action Thumb Pistons
  • Has Combination Action Toe Pistons
We received the most recent update for this console from Database Manager on November 11, 2019.
Database Manager on November 11, 2019:

Born in 1860 in the Cincinnati-area community of Cherry Grove, Stephen Gerrard supported himself in his youth as a street peddler, but ultimately made himself wealthy by taking advantage of refrigerated rail cars to transport cantaloupes nationwide, selling them far more widely than was otherwise possible. His sales of Colorado melons throughout the country's central and eastern regions enriched Gerrard, gaining him the nickname of "Cantaloupe King", and enabling him to build the present house in 1915 as well as constructing a grand mausoleum in the same section of Spring Grove Cemetery as other prominent local businessmen. Its location in North Avondale, a gaslight neighborhood, made Gerrard a neighbor to some of Cincinnati's economic élites. However, his fortune was destroyed by the Great Depression, and he died in 1936. Built of limestone with a limestone foundation, the Tudor Revival house is covered with a slate roof. Two and a half stories tall, the house features an irregular plan, with battlement-topped bay windows in assorted gables, tall chimneys, and a porte-cochère sheltering the main entrance. The windows are sheltered by hoodmolds, and the upper and lower sections of the facade are separated by a stone belt course. Decorative elements in the upper part of the house include a pair of gargoyles atop the roof and the ornamental chimney pots atop the chimneys. Extensive wooden panelling beautifies the interiors, which feature ornamental ceilings and marble fireplaces. Upon its completion, the house possessed its own pipe organ, made by W.W. Kimball of Chicago. The entire house has an area of 5,400 square feet.

We received the most recent update for this note from Database Manager on November 12, 2019.

Database Manager on September 24, 2009:

Updated through on-line information from James R. Stettner. -- Stops were drawknobs in horizontal rows on standard angled drawknob jambs. The music room and organ were added to the house in 1929 as a gift from Gerrard to his wife, Estelle. According to the May 1988 issue of 'Cincinnati' magazine, "By 1929, he had distinguished himself by amassing a fortune, and he celebrated by distinguishing his house. He added formal gardens and a music room for his wife. It is this room -- Estelle Gerrard's anniversary present of an organ room -- which made the home more than a run-of-the-mill mansion. The organ (the largest house organ in the country) was a player organ with intricately wired mechanism housed in the basement and zinc and wooden pipes behind an elaborately carved pipe screen." Sadly, Gerrard lost his fortune in the stock market crash. The family continued to live there until Gerrard's death in 1934. The property changed hand several times. It was finally purchased by Joe and Robin Shildmeyer who have restored the home after being empty for 13 years. The 'Cincinnati' magazine article further states about the organ, "It also brought them to the attention of the Smithsonian Museum, which sent an organ expert to see if there were a way to salvage the player organ, one of only two in the country. He left the music room weeping; time and moisture had done their worst." Despite this report, the organ was still present at the time this article was written.

We received the most recent update for this note from Database Manager on April 09, 2020.

Database Manager on August 27, 2009:

Identified through on-line information from Jim lewis. -- Three-manuals. Electro-pneumatic action.

We received the most recent update for this note from Database Manager on April 09, 2020.
Stoplist copied from <i>The Diapason</i> November 1928: Open In New Tab
We received the most recent update for this stoplist from Database Manager on November 12, 2019.

Instrument Images:

Console: Photograph in the private collection of Jim Lewis. Taken on 1929-01-30

Living room with facade: Photograph from "Hooked on Houses" website. Taken on 2008-04-15

Living room with facade: Photograph from "Cincinnati Magazine", June 2001. Taken on 2001-05-01

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