From: Buddy Boyd, August 2005
In the early 1970's the then Loew's Theatre in Richmond, Virginia, donated
their organ to the Kennedy Center for what I remember was a large tax
write-off. $90k comes to mind but that may be way off base. After the Center
got the organ and they soon realized that the project was more than they
wanted to commit to. The organ was put up for auction and sold for about
$20k. It then moved around a bit and was parted out. Most if not all of the
reeds went and maybe some other stuff, I really don't know.
The Carpender Center (ex-Loew's) was putting in an organ that came from a
restaurant in NJ when they found they could get the original instrument
back. (The National Convention visited the theatre during this time.) After
some horse trading they got what was left of the organ and went to work
using an organ builder not known in the theatre organ trade. The missing
pipes were replaced and the organ was installed. IMHO the results are not
very Wurlitzer-ish. The organ is much louder and really sounds like a church
organ on steroids with an extra dose given to the trems.
To his credit, the late Eddie Weaver with his failing eyesight could still
give a standing room only performance there. I doubt that the organ and the
theatre has seen the like since his passing.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org, July 2006
Well here's the whole story................
Yes, the organ was stolen from the theatre originally to go to the Kennedy Center in D.C.
after they did not want it, it went to a storage facility in Arlington, Virginia.
Then it was sold to a doctor and placed into a warehouse in Tennesee. Then he moved to Texas.
Then he moved back to Tennessee and offered it for $75,000 back to the theatre.
Well, the theatre had one in the meantime and apparently the deal was to trade the organs,
plus the doctor would get the $75,000. Well, then the organ was rebuilt, botched, hacked,
and reinstalled in the theatre, enlarged to 22 ranks. Apparently, in the move to Richmond,
several ranks of pipes were completely destroyed.
The organ now is not like it was, the console, though has the Klann "stuff" in it, is just a shell.
The pipes have been removed again and stored.
The Loew's (now Carpenter Center) closed the theatre to add on to the rear of the building-to add
more stage space, storage, dressing rooms, etc. After it was discovered that there was a complete
and total lack of funds, the city halted the project, and apparently when inspected over 30 violations
The pipes are in a storage facility-probably going to be sold for misc. scrap metal and wood,
and the console is wrapped in plastic in the lobby. The chests are still in place in the chambers,
likely the leather eaten away by mice by now, since there is nothing else in the theatre to get to.
The installation was not of the highest scale. The original shades are gone, replaced by Klann church
organ shades, and needless to say, they can hear the organ all the way in Maryland. Apparently, the
only place to really hear the organ is all the way at the top of the balcony in the center and even
then, earphones that reduce by 50dB are needed. There was a lawsuit filed by the cemetaries for
disturbing the peace. Apparently, they could not rest.... (just a little odd humor added).
Since reinstallation, the organ played I believe for one concert, or several little concerts.
Not a desireable organ to listen to and certainly not one of historic value anymore.
It is believed and due to evidence likely the organ will NEVER play again.