I am now the new owner of Möllers' opus 5757, built for the First United Methodist Church in Southold, N.Y. (Built 1900) The organ was chamber installed and a dedication ceremoney took place on April 20th 1930.
The original 1930 purchase price was $3,750
The trip started out as most trips do, but even the most carefully thought out plans can go into the trash can. Missing every connecting flight and having to go standby was just for starters. I was also missing my luggage (it was a whole "leg" behind me) which contained tools, film, paper, markers, lables and more that I would need including work clothes.
Naturally I arrived in LaGuardia Airport, some 45 miles from my original
destination due to flight delays, standby options etc. That meant a $100
taxi trip and the loss of 9 hours of precious work time. After renting a
storage space and a truck, I arrived at the church at 7:30 PM Thursday
May 17th, and at 8:00 I started loading up wood pipes, removing the
blower, stacking metal pipes, removing racks, supports and everything else
I worked clear thru till 4:00 AM when I simply couldn't go further, I "crashed" out for a whole 1-1/2 hours on a pew and awoke at 5:30 freezing My A** off. I continued working till about 8:30 or 9:00 AM Friday. By then all that was left to load was the console and metal pipes. The windchest was not coming out this trip !
8' Open diapason 61 pipes|
8' Melodia 73 pipes
8' Dulciana 73 pipes
8' Salicional 73 pipes
4' Octave 61 notes
4' Flute d'amore 61 notes
8' Oboe 73 notes
8' Violin diap. 73 pipes|
8' Stopped diap 73 pipes
8' Dulciana 73 notes
8' Salicional 73 notes
8' Vox celeste 61 pipes
4' Flute traverso 61 notes
8' Oboe 73 pipes
16' Bourdon 32 pipes|
16' Lieblich Gedeckt 32 notes
8' Flute 32 notes
Total; 592 pipes with 10 various couplers, tremulant, 8 combination pistons, 3 expression pedals.
I only knew he is a sales representative for an organ company based in England and was on and we corresponded a few times via email. Malcolm obviously (as do most people) misjudged my determination and "verve," and that once I set my mind to get or do something nothing can change it.
Knowing I'd lost a whole day of precious time, I knew come hell or high water I was going to get that damn thing in the truck no matter what! I'd already sunk $1,000 into just getting to the Church and almost two days of hell on the flight and nothing was going to stand in the way. I was also NOT going to change my plans to return Sunday.
Keep in mind several factors were a positive
help to me, such as, the church has an alley next to both the side
entrance and the basement door. Aside from the side entrance having four
steps plus the curb to go up and down, the organ
chamber was about 35 feet in from the door and fairly smooth linoleum
room where the metal pipes were stored did have some water pipes running
along the floor across where one has to walk- eliminating use of a dolly.
The blower was also in a small room there still installed to the floor but
the wires disconnected.
There were two wood trays and one wood box with pipes, but all the larger pipes were carefully stacked on shelving and had to be moved one by one, which I had mostly done early after running out of things I could do myself. I moved most of the metal pipes into the nursery near the exit door ready to go.
That saved time later. I also had to remove the door to get the console out to the alley, to lessen the weight I took the top, front and side insert panels off. I had only a screw driver and thanked the stars there was one laying about! Actually I found the whole project quite simple and rather fun even in my zombie-like state!
By the time Malcolm and his friend arrived I was
ready to crash and burn, too many hours with out sleep takes its toll, as
does that airline food.. First thing we did was get some grub which
Malcolm treated us to, I was famished!
It was great just having someone there to keep me going, theres nothing more desolate than a dark empty church.
As Malcolm said, it's a lovely organ and well worth saving, the Console which is shown stripped down to lessen the weight, was a surprise as I'd expected a plain one! It has recessed panels with a restrained gothic theme, and some curved brackets under the lower manual, and roll-top.
Kicking around some Case design ideas I came up with a vague idea with this drawing.
What got me was the fact that the Pastor said he advertised it a couple of times and at least one man came to look at it for a residence organ but said it was too big!
I happened to see it in the April AGO magazine, no specs no price and it was a Month old. My call and inquiry about size etc brought "I dont know" answers and I pretty much wrote it off when the Pastor said he'd send me a copy of the original book that came with it- I figured it was a toaster or some piece of junk.
Was I surprised when the mail brought a copy of the original 1930 Möller
contract and spec sheet! I knew then I was going to buy it, I wanted that
When I called I was relieved it was STILL available, but still had no price, it was like dragging teeth to get a price out of the Pastor, I guess he wanted me to make an offer. He finally said $1500 and I almost choked!
I knew then that if nothing else the parts would be worth the price!
It was a rather odd feeling as I unscrewed the various parts and removed pipes etc to think that I was probably the first one to remove those screws and that the last time they were handled was in 1930 by Mollers' installers. I found every board and piece carefully marked in pencil with locations and the like. All the support boards and the like were carefully half lapped so chests and the like sat on the edge thus formed, the quality of workmanship was good, good solid wood in use with no plywood, and all the pipes were as per the contract coated with lacquer or shellac, the joints were so nicely done I could hardly tell where the boards met.
The Pastor did say they made a couple of audio tapes once,
I'll try to get copies so I can hear what it sounded like.
I received my pictures today, some did not turn out- too dark but the stained glass pics, exterior of the church, console and some of the pipes laying in the nursery, the blower and half loaded truck came out.
The picture of the false organ front behind the alter didnt and I'll have to reshoot it when I go back. The front is part of the architecture of the alter and can't be included. It has three pipe towers with zinc non speaking pipes, and the lower section has the same inset panels the console does.
It was a nice project, phase two comes sometime soon I hope, and thats a drive back with it some 3,000 miles via truck which I'm not looking forward to! Every other avenue of transport is way too expensive so it only leaves renting a truck one way and driving 5-6 days at least 600 miles a day and sleeping in the truck to save money on motels.
The metal pipes as we put them in the truck this time faired well, extremely minimal damage to a very few from the entire process of their being removed 4 years ago and now transported to a storage space 50 miles away from the church. The 3000 mile trip however will require me to do some serious packing of them.
It was 1900 and what a year for the members at the Methodist Episcopal Church of Southold: The (1850) church building had been moved back and turned parallel with the main road. A New York architect funished new plans and J.C. Corey added a new sanctuary at an estimated cost of $7,000. A cornerstone was donated by F.H. Hill Brothers of Riverhead and installed by H.F. Van Wyck. On June 10th, the present ediface was dedicated during the pastorate of the Rev H.E. Hiler. On the previous night, every dollar for its erection and furnishings of $7,727 had been met.
Music has always been a source of pleasure and inspiration at Southold Methodist. On April 20 1930, dedicatory services were held for the beautiful Moller organ ($3750) with Mrs Ruth Langlois Hubbard as guest organist.
The new Rogers organ 805 ($24,000) was purchased and dedicated in memory of family and friends with James Fry, guest organist giving a concert. Curtesy of the church history handout detailing the entire history of the congregation from 1794 compiled by Evelyn Bergen.