From: Craig Whitley, October 1997
Yes that puppy is alive and well in my home in Holland NY. The organ
was removed from the theater approximately 30 years ago and was kept
in storage for approximately 20 years in Erie PA. Dennis Unks of Organ
Supply Industries was in possession of the stored organ when I
purchased it sometime in 1987.
The intention had been for OSI to restore the organ and then donate
same to the city of Erie PA if the city would agree to pay for the
restoration. Evidently, the 2 sides could not come to an agreement and
the organ remained in storage until I purchased it.
I have made modifications to the console to add a 3rd manual but any
modification involved the fabrication of new components so that all
original components remain. This will allow a purist, after my death
(in the very distant future I hope), to reconfigure the organ to its
original state with the original console parts.
The organ currently has 8 of the 10 ranks fully restored and playing.
The other 2 ranks are 80% complete. They just need the relay driver
boards installed and the wind lines connected.
An electronic relay with MIDI capabilities has been installed. As in
the case of the console, I have kept the original relay should someone
want to go back to the original configuration. When they removed the
organ from the Jamestown Theater, they just hacked the wires. Too bad
but they did a professional job of packing the pipes so they were in
good shape considering.
The organ was intact for the most part. 6 Flute pipes were missing and
have been replaced.
Kevin Saky has been instrumental (no pun intended) in keeping the
restoration moving forward. In the last year we accomplished more than
I had in the previous 9 years.
The organ chambers are in the 3rd floor of the house which was built
for a much smaller church organ. The organ speaks into a 32' x 30
living/dining room with a 32' cathedral ceiling. The organ console is
located on the second floor balcony overlooking the living and dining
While the high ceilings certainly help for a home installation and I
am pleased with the sound, it will never compare to the sound in a
Its it original? Yes and no see above!
Would the purist like it? Absolutely not!
Is it saved from the scavengers? Yes
Do I like it? Yes! And I'm the only one I have to please. It is much
better off than in storage.