Skip to comments.Rare pipe organ may be dismantled for parts
Posted on 03/18/2012 5:44:57 PM PDT by iowamark
A rare pipe organ, manufactured in Mason City over 100 years ago, may soon have its glorious sound forever silenced.
An effort conducted over the past two years to sell the instrument the price today is $1 has failed, said the Rev. Martha Rogers of Christ Episcopal Church in Cedar Rapids, where the organ is housed.
We certainly want to see it preserved, Rogers said. Its playable; its been maintained.
But unless someone comes forward in the next couple of weeks or so, the organ will be dismantled and sold for parts.
The instrument is only one of three Verney organs known to exist, and the largest, according to Dobson Pipe Organ Builders, Inc., records.
It was built for the Parkersburg United Methodist Church in 1904 and then sold to the Cedar Rapids church in 1993.
In 2010, the church began to actively raise awareness of its need to move the organ. The church is conducting a remodeling of its worship area, which includes making the space accessible to the disabled, Rogers said.
It is like the domino effect; one thing has to happen before the next can occur, she said. The church has purchased a digital organ that better fits the size and needs of the congregation.
Rogers said the organs size may very well be its enemy.
The pipes vault 26 feet into the air and that limits its relocation, Rogers said.
Cyndy Johnson of Thompson, dean of the American Guild of Organists, North Iowa Chapter, agreed its size does not make it attractive to some.
Still, she said, it should be preserved.
The guild tried to canvass the North Iowa area for an organization to take the organ, but no one seemed interested, she said.
It would be tragic to see the instrument destroyed, she said.
It has historical value; and it has value for its technology, she said.
She said W. C. Verney was known for his experimentation with pneumatics. Some of his pneumatic creations were shown at the 1900 Paris Exposition.
Verney whose company only stayed in Mason City for about 10 years received a patent on his pneumatic system for organs, called the Verney Individual Valve System. He created the organ as a bridge between the mechanical instruments of the past and the pneumatic-play organs, which were just starting to be created.
The other two Verney organs are located in Terre Haute, Ind., built in 1905 for the Allen Chapel AME Church, where it still resides; and at Highland, Wis.
One Cedar Rapids church member, Rachel Mills, said in 2010 that the organ is perfectly playable and has a glorious sound.
Rogers said church members would be more than happy to store the instrument for a time if it was guaranteed that someone would purchase and move it within the upcoming months.
For more information, contact the church by calling 319-363-2029, or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
I moved every one of these organs (95 of them) when I was about 15 or 16 years old. The old guy had them in a barn outside of town where he spent a lifetime restoring them and couldn’t play a note.
A new, digital organ is more important than the organ’s historical value to the church? Perhaps THEY are the problem.
My reed(sic) too.
Why don’t you buy it? It’s only a $1!
The United Methodist Church didn't exist in 1904--it was formed in 1968. If Parkersburg is the one in W. Va., the church in question was probably known at the time as the First Methodist Episcopal Church.
The lack of any consideration for historical preservation is just jaw-dropping. I’m working on this.
This is in Iowa.
It almost goes without saying that the modern Episcopal Church is not much interested in tradition.
“A new, digital organ is more important than the organs historical value to the church? Perhaps THEY are the problem.”
Amen to that. E Power Biggs must be spinning in his grave.
There is a Parkersburg Iowa.
Today I made my 1990's vintage electric guitar recording equipment obsolete by downloading and running GNUguitarINUX. It's a linux debian distro dedicated to guitar playing; it has recording multi-track, drums, synth, and every effect for guitar I have stored in my studio.
It's especially cool because it fits on a usb thumb drive and does everything my analog stuff did and more and it's entirely free.
So, old stuff is cool, and so is new stuff. Ain't life grand!
I worked with a guy who bought a house in Mt. Airy, NC (Mayberry) from a sister whose sister had passed. The two sisters bought two houses side by side and furnished them identically. They lived in one and the other was just cleaned but never lived in. He bought the house with the furnishings that had never been used. The house was built in the 1950s and the stuff in it was classic. Tupperware, 1950s kitchen electrics, all kinds of antiques that had NEVER been touched except to be dusted. It was like walking into a time capsule.
So, this incredible organ has to give way for a disabled elevator? Maybe they should stick the elevator somewhere else.
Won’t exactly fit in my house but the price is right.
"Yeth, but I'm sure interethted in organs."
Then I say let's take a look over here; In a dirty old looking box I've never actually opened is the exact skillet with a brand new cord along with a brand new skillet and manual. I tell him him it's $20 dollars after I realize the dang thing has never been used. I'm finding all these things as we go... It's really a lot of fun!
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