Pipe Organ Database

a project of the organ historical society

Unknown Builder (1961)

Originally Austin Organ Co. (Opus 1788, 1931)

Location:

St. Augustine Presbyterian Church
838 East 165th St.
New York City: The Bronx, NY 10459 US
Organ ID: 66613

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Status and Condition:

  • This instrument's location type is: Presbyterian Churches
  • 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 Jeff Scofield on November 10, 2020.

Technical Details:

  • Chests: Information unknown or not applicable
  • 15 ranks. 4 divisions. 3 manuals. 15 stops. 49 registers.
Great, Swell, Choir and Pedal:
  • 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 Jeff Scofield on November 10, 2020.
Main:
  • Manuals: 3
  • Divisions: 4
  • Stops: 15
  • Registers: 49
  • Position: Console in fixed position, left.
  • 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.
  • Stop Controls: Stop keys above top manual.
  • Combination Action: 'Hold and Set' pneumatic/mechanical system.
  • Pedalboard Type: Concave radiating pedalboard meeting AGO Standards.
  • Has Crescendo Pedal
  • Has Tutti Reversible Toe Piston(s)
  • Has Combination Action Thumb Piston(s)
  • Has Combination Action Toe Piston(s)
We received the most recent update for this console from Jeff Scofield on November 10, 2020.
Jeff Scofield on November 10, 2020:

St. Augustine Presbyterian Church was founded in 1938 by the Rev. Edler Garnet Hawkins. During the 1940s and 1950s, the congregation grew to more than a thousand members, which included mostly African-Americans and Puerto Ricans. In 1964, Rev. Hawkins was elected the first African-American moderator of the United Presbyterian Church, and served St. Augustine until his death in 1977. The brick neo-Gothic building was constructed in 1906 for the Woodstock Presbyterian Church; that congregation merged into the Home Street Presbyterian Church in 1938.

This theatre organ was built in 1931 by the Austin Organ Company for station WHK of the Radio Air Service Corp. in Cleveland, Ohio. Austin's Op. 1778 was known as a "unified" (theatre) model, and it included a three-manual Art Deco console and an automatic player. The organ cost $16,500. In 1950, the organ was donated to the Bethel Home of the World Headquarters of the Jehovah's Witnesses in Brooklyn, where it was installed in new building addition then underway. The organ was used there until about 1960, at which time the organ was in need of major repairs. The Witnesses decided that pipe organs did not fit into their religious profile and, in 1961, the organ was sold and moved to St. Augustine Presbyterian Church in The Bronx.

Charles Scharpeger recorded the following specifications for Louis F. Mohr & Co., on two occasions: once in February 1962, and the following on January 7, 1963. Pipecounts are suggested, based on typical specifications by Austin of that time.

As of 2009, the organ is unplayable as the console appears to be disconnected and the pedalboard has been detached and placed in a corner. The pipework in the chambers is in good shape, but the unenclosed Tibia (centered under the window) is in bad condition.

We received the most recent update for this note from Jeff Scofield on November 10, 2020.
Courtesy of the NYC AGO Organ Project: Open In New Tab
We received the most recent update for this stoplist from Jeff Scofield on November 10, 2020.

Instrument Images:

Church interior: Photograph by David Schmauch via the NYC AGO NYC Organ Project, submitted by Jeff Scofield. Taken on 2011-08-21

Console: Photograph by David Schmauch via the NYC AGO NYC Organ Project, submitted by Jeff Scofield. Taken on 2011-08-21

Nameplates: Photograph by David Schmauch via the NYC AGO NYC Organ Project, submitted by Jeff Scofield. Taken on 2011-08-21

Church exterior: Photograph by David Schmauch via the NYC AGO NYC Organ Project, submitted by Jeff Scofield. Taken on 2011-08-21

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