All Saints Roman Catholic Church - Brooklyn, N.Y. (photo: Steven E. Lawson)
 
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Church of All Saints
(Roman Catholic)

115 Throop Avenue at Thornton Street
Brooklyn, N.Y. 11206


Organ Specifications:
Present building (since 1896):
II/36 William G. Schwarze (1896); reb.
First building (1867-1896):
• unknown




The Roman Catholic parish of All Saints was organized in 1866 to serve German immigrants who worked in the breweries and plants of this neighborhood in Williamsburg. A modest red brick church that could accomodate 700 in its pews was erected on the present site, and the new structure was consecrated on December 29, 1867, by the Rt. Rev. John Loughlin, Bishop of the Diocese of Brooklyn. Father Anton Arnold, who established the church, would continue as pastor for several decades.

Al Saints Roman Catholic Church - Brooklyn, N.Y. (drawing, Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Nov. 27, 1896)  
Brooklyn Eagle (Nov. 27, 1896)  
   
By the end of the 19th century, the parish had outgrown its original building. The cornerstone for the present church was laid on Pfingst Monday (the day after Pentecost) 1894, and by August 10, 1894, services could be held in the basement. Schickel & Ditmars of New York designed the the Neo-Gothic church, which is built of a light brick above a foundation of Munson granite. Trimmings and cornices are of buff Indiana limestone, and terra cotta is used for the tracery, pinnacles, columns and parapets. A large tower rises 208 feet above the ground and contains the main entrance to the church. The church was designed in the shape of a cross, and is 146 feet long by 80 feet wide. Electricity was used to illuminate the 1,500-seat interior, with clusters of incandescent lamps around the columns and on erect stands in the transepts. Four Alps green marble columns on either side of the nave support the groined arched ceiling, and at the transept are two larger columns. The sanctuary of the new church, which is about eighteen feet deep from the white onyx altar rail to the foot of the main altar, covers the full width of the church and occupies the exact site of the old church. Italian statuary marble was used to construct the main altar, which is 30 feet high by 16 feet wide, and for the two smaller altars that are found on either side of the main altar. The church was dedicated by four bishops on November 26, 1896.

Following the decline of breweries and closing of plants, the German population relocated to other areas, and the neighborhood was then inhabited for many decades by Italians. In the 1960s, hundreds of area homes were demolished to make way for a half-dozen housing projects. Many of the Italian families left for Queens and Long Island, and the neighborhood became largely Hispanic. Today, All Saints' congregation is 80 percent Hispanic.
               
  William Schwarze Organ (1896) in All Saints Roman Catholic Church - Brooklyn, N.Y. (photo: Steven E. Lawson)
William G. Schwarze
Brooklyn, N.Y. (1896)
Tubular-pneumatic action?
Stop-key console
2 manuals, 32 stops, 36? ranks


The organ in the present church was built in 1896 by William Schwarze, an organbuilder then working in Brooklyn. Earlier in his career, Schwarze was the southern representative for Henry Erben, the noted organbuilder in New York City, and in 1870 rebuilt the historic Tannenberg organ in the Home Moravian Church in Old Salem, N.C. An account of the dedication of All Saints in The Brooklyn Eagle (Nov. 27, 1896) reported, "A new organ of the latest manufacture and provided with all the newest mechanical inventions has been erected in the church..."

At some point, the organ was rebuilt and possibly electrified. The organ was not playable in 2007.
               
Great Organ (Manual I) – 61 notes
16
  Open Diapason  
4
  Flute  
8
  Open Diapason  
2 2/3
  Twelfth  
8
  Doppel Flute  
2
  Fifteenth  
8
  Gamba       Mixture III ranks  
8
  Melodia  
8
  Trumpet  
8
  Dulciana  
4
  Clarion  
4
  Principal      
Chimes  
               
Swell Organ (Manual II) – 61 notes, enclosed
16
  Bourdon  
4
  Flute Harmonic  
8
  Open Diapason  
2
  Piccolo  
8
  Stopped Diapason       Cornet III ranks  
8
  Hohl Flute  
8
  Cornopean  
8
  Salicional  
8
  Oboe  
8
  Aeoline  
8
  Vox Humana  
4
  Flute Fugara       Tremolo  
               
Pedal Organ – 32? notes
16
  Double Diapason  
8
  Principal Bass  
16
  Bourdon  
8
  Cello  
16
  Violone  
16
  Trombone  
               
Couplers
    Great to Pedal     Swell to Swell 16', 4'
    Swell to Pedal     Great to Great 16', 4'
    Swell to Great 16', 8', 4'      
               
Combinations
    8 pistons          
    General Release          
               
Pedal Movements
    Great to Pedal Reversible       Balanced Swell Pedal  
    Sforzando Pedal       Crescendo Pedal  
               
Sources:
     "All Saints' Dedicated. Impressive Ceremonial in a German Catholic Church," Brooklyn Eagle, (Nov. 27, 1896).
     Berger, Joseph. "New Role for Women: Nuns Guide a Brooklyn Parish," The New York Times (Aug. 12, 1986).
     "Bishops Will Dedicate. Four High Dignitaries to Officiate at All Saints'," Brooklyn Eagle (Nov. 25, 1896).
     "Consecration of the Church of All Saints – Grand Pageant in the Sixteenth Ward," Brooklyn Eagle (Dec. 30, 1867).
     Fox, David H. A Guide to North American Organbuilders (Rev. ed.). Richmond: The Organ Historical Society, 1997.
     Mahanor, Tali. Specifications of the 1896 William G. Schwarze organ as of 2007.

Illustrations:
     Brooklyn Eagle (Nov. 27, 1896), Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn Collection: 1896 drawing of exterior.
     Lawson, Steven E. Exterior; William Schwarze organ (1896).