The History of our Organ

1851: The original tracker instrument was built by the highly-regarded William B.D. Simmons Company of Boston, and installed in 1851. It comprised the “swell” organ and some of the pedal notes (probably as high as F#). The organ was donated by Eliza B. Wheaton.

1882: Mrs. Wheaton received permission to have the organ rebuilt. The “great” manual was added by the E.L. Holbrook Company of West Medway, providing a more supportive sound for congregational singing in the newly-enlarged sanctuary.

1925: The Whatsoever Club financed a remodeling of the instrument, with the work done by George W. Reed and Son. An electric blower was added, and placed in the basement below the organ. (Up to this point the organ was pumped by hand — the pump handle can still be seen in the organ chamber.) Also, the pitch was raised (of necessity putting the lowest C on an independent electrical connection). The pedals were extended, and extensive repairs carried out. All for the sum of $400!

1959: A tonal change was made. In consultation with expert Barbara Owen, the octave stop was added to the “great” organ.

1975: The reservoir fell apart, and was rebuilt by the Robert Roche Company, of Taunton.

1978: Organ renovation: $14,000 was raised over a 2-year period through pledges, projects and memorial gifts. The contract was awarded to the Kinzey-Angerstein Company of Wrentham. This project changed nothing of the original sound, although there was revoicing of the pipes. All worn-out parts were replaced, including trackers, chests, and action, and the reservoir was re-leathered. More pedal pipes were added. The re-dedication service was held on Nov. 19, 1978.

1987: A new organ blower was installed within the organ chamber by Angerstein & Associates of Stoughton, thus eliminating the old blower in the basement furnace room!

2002: The Andover Organ Company of Methuen made major adjustments to the action, improving tracker connections and installing less stiff wires. The swell pedal mechanism was changed in order to eliminate noise from counterweights. Work was also done on pallets in the wind chests.