Updated through online information from Scot Huntington.
The derelict Hill & Davison organ was being refurbished and brought into usability by an organ student at the University of Florida, Tallahassee, under the direction of newly-appointed organ professor Dr. Michael Corzine, with Barbara Owen serving as advisor. The early history of the organ was somewhat fuzzy and the information which follows was reported to me as oral history.
The metal pipework was completely crushed, some builders thought irreparably so, and had the organ not been so historically important, the pipes would likely have been replaced outright. This instrument is believed to be the only surviving relic of the short-lived partnership (1837-1838) of William Hill and Frederick Davison. It was originally installed new, at a unknown church in New York City, and was installed at Christ Church Anglican, Savannah, Georgia as a temporary organ "following an earthquake"- perhaps the Great Savannah Earthquake of 1886. In use there for two years, it was sold to another church in Savannah.
I no longer remember the history of how the organ came to Florida, but I believe it may have been a bequest from an alumni. At the time the pipes were restored in August, 1979, the organ had been in Florida "20-25 years", and the metal pipes had been placed in a large crate with folding chairs stored on top of them the entire time. I restored the metal pipework while in the employ of organbuilder A. David Moore, North Pomfret, Vermont, in the capacity of pipemaker and voicer.
Believing the pipework might contain clues as to some original non-equal temperament, the pipe lengths were left untouched, including the variety of randomly-cut tuning tabs, and the pipes were fitted with tuning slides in hopes that once installed in the organ, some future researcher might be able to divine a reasonably accurate temperament. The original pitch was left at A430, but I heard a rumor some time later, that the pipes had been been shortened to A440 and revoiced. If true, this would have permanently obliterated the original voicing that we tried so scrupulously to preserve. We did take extremely detailed scale measurements which are preserved. The wind pressure was 51 mm. This organ contains the oldest known extant Claribella stop invented shortly before its appearance here.
Restoration of relocated organ of 1838. The original builder was Hill & Davison (1837).
Restoration conducted 1977-1984.
Pipework restored. Scot Huntington worked on the pipes which included an original Clarabella 8' from Middle C.
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