Temple Organ Co. (1960)

Originally Geo. Kilgen & Son, Inc. (1914)


First Christian Church
Oak & Plum Streets
Union City, IN 47390 US
Organ ID: 50841

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Status and Condition:

  • This instrument's location type is: Disciples of Christ / Christian Church
  • The organ has been rebuilt or substantially revised.
  • The organ's condition is good, in regular use.
We received the most recent update for this instrument's status from Database Manager on May 13, 2018.

Technical Details:

  • Chests: Information unknown or not applicable
  • 2 manuals.
We received the most recent update for this division from Database Manager on May 13, 2018.
  • Manuals: 2
  • Position: Console in fixed position, left.
  • Console Style: Traditional style with roll top.
  • Stop Controls: Stop keys above top manual.
  • Pedalboard Type: Concave radiating pedalboard.
We received the most recent update for this console from Database Manager on May 13, 2018.
Database Manager on January 10, 2013:

Updated through online information from Timothy E. Conyers. -- Church records show that serious problems surfaced immediately after the rebuild by the Temple Organ Co., and these problems were not resolved. The situation continued for almost a decade.

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

Database Manager on January 04, 2013:

This is a rebuild of an existing organ. Identified by Timothy E. Conyers, based on information from Church historical records, old church photographs, old Union City newspaper articles on microfilm (1960), organ company correspondence.. -- In 1960 the sanctuary was remodeled to its present form. A new chancel was created at the north end of the building by dividing the Sunday School auditorium in half with a wall. That portion beyond the new wall became one long hall-type room the width of the building. The bowled sanctuary floor was made level. New pews were installed and the seating returned to the original position facing north as it had been when the building was constructed in 1875. For nearly sixty years the seating had faced to the east. The chancel was furnished with a new communion altar, deacon's bench, pulpit, lectern, choir seating and a baptistry pool. A large cross was installed on the chancel wall. It was surrounded by an outline in gold paint. The old pulpit furniture was dispersed throughout the building and can still be seen today.

The pipes of the 1914 Kilgen organ were relocated to newly constructed chambers on each of the upper chancel side walls. The chambers spoke directly into the chancel. The Swell chamber was on the east chancel wall and the Great chamber on the west wall. A new detached console was built in a fixed position directly behind the pulpit at the left side of the chancel. Mrs. E. F. Lephart presented special organ music for the dedication of remodled building.

The Temple Organ Co., Lamoni, IA, contracted for the job, after which serious problems began to surface and continued most of the decade. An organ committee formed in the Fall of 1968. Several organ companies were called in to examined the instrument. It was discovered some parts were missing that were essential; the wiring was incorrect to the point of being a fire hazard; some pipes were not finished and most were improperly installed; the chests leaked which caused insufficient air supply to the pipes thus causing some to not play; other pipes did not work because the electric contacts had burned out; and it was nearly impossible to tune the west chamber which caused the organ to be constantly out of tune. Several options were explored including electronic organs. The church could repair the existing problems which would only postpone for a short time the need to remedy the basic problems; buy a new pipe organ for $30,000 to $35,000; purchase a used smaller pipe organ for $16,000; or purchase an electric organ. Upon hearing a rebuilt pipe organ similar to ours and listening to a $17,000 electronic organ, the committee chose to save the instrument. It was the recommendation of the organ committee that the instrument be rebuilt by another pipe organ company. The congregation voted on September 21, 1969 to have Lima Pipe Organ Co., Lima, OH, rebuild the organ.

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

Instrument Images:

Church Exterior: Photograph by Timothy E. Conyers. Taken on 2014-07-01

Sanctuary Interior and Chancel: (ca. 1970) Photograph from the Church Archives; image courtesy of Timothy E. Conyers.

Church Exterior: Vintage Postcard (ca. 1972); image courtesy of Timothy E. Conyers.