Brooklyn Tabernacle
(Non-denominational – originally Presbyterian)

17 Smith Street
Brooklyn, N.Y. 11201
www.brooklyntabernacle.org


Organ Specifications:
17 Smith Street (since 2002)
• electronic keyboards
292 Flatbush Avenue (1980s-2002)
• unknown
Clinton Avenue, corner Greene (1890-1980s)
• III/35 Austin Organ Company, Op. 567 (1916)
IV/78 George Jardine & Son (1890) – burned 1894
Corner Marcy and Jefferson Avenue (1873-1889)
III/43 George Jardine & Son (1873)
II/27 E. & G.G. Hook, Op. 544 (1870)


The Brooklyn Tabernacle has a long and varied history, having been established in 1847 as the Central Presbyterian Church. The first building was located on Willoughby Street at the corner of Pearl, originally occupied by the First Presbyterian Church. Central's congregation grew and strengthened as the result of a revival, and a frame tabernacle was built on the corner of State and Nevins Streets and first used for public services on April 3, 1853. The church laid the cornerstone for a new edifice on June 11, 1854, a brick building measuring ninety-nine by sixty-two feet, and having one hundred and forty-four pews on the ground floor and forty-two in the gallery. The building was decorated with a portico of the Grecian Doric order, and its cost was estimated at about $30,000. In 1855, an extensive revival added largely to the number of the church. The Rev. T. Dewitt Talmage, noted pastor of the church, was installed March 22, 1869. The first tabernacle was destroyed by fire in 1869.

  Brooklyn Tabernacle Presbyterian Church (1873-89) in Brooklyn, NY
 
Second Brooklyn Tabernacle (1873-89)
Corner Marcy and Jefferson
   
The second Brooklyn Tabernacle was built in 1873 at the corner of Marcy and Jefferson. This tabernacle was destroyed during a terrific thunderstorm in 1889. Insurance on the church building was over $120,000, and Dr. Talmage appealed to the people of Brooklyn and to the thousands of readers of his sermons for an additional sum of $100,000 to build a new tabernacle.

Brooklyn Tabernacle Presbyterian Church (1890) in Brooklyn, NY  
Third Brooklyn Tabernacle (1890)
Clinton Avenue at Greene Street
 
   
The third tabernacle, built at the corner of Clinton Avenue and Greene Street, seated 6,000 persons, and when crowded held 7,000. There was still some debt on the building, for the entire enterprise had cost about $400,000. Talmage writes that "There were regrets expressed that we did not follow the elaborate custom of some fashionable churches in these days and introduce into our services operatic music. I preferred the simple form of sacred music—a cornet and organ. Everybody should get his call from God, and do his work in his own way. I never had any sympathy with dogmatics. There is no church on earth in which there is more freedom of utterance than in the Presbyterian church." The third tabernacle was destroyed by fire in 1894. Talmage wrote, "The destruction of the New Tabernacle by a fire which started in the organ loft was one of these mysteries that will never be revealed this side of eternity. The destruction of any church, no matter how large or how popular, does not destroy our faith in God. Great as the disaster had been, much greater was the mercy of Divine mystery that prevented a worse calamity in the loss of human life. The fire was discovered just after the morning service, and everyone had left the building but myself, Mrs. Talmage, the organist, and one or two personal friends. We were standing in the centre aisle of the church when a puff of smoke suddenly came out of the space behind the organ. In less than fifteen minutes from that discovery the huge pipe organ was a raging furnace, and I personally narrowly escaped the falling debris by the rear door of my church study. The flags and decoration which had been put up for the jubilee celebration had not been moved, and they whetted the appetite of the flames." It is believed that the third tabernacle was rebuilt at the same location.

Brooklyn Tabernacle - Brooklyn, N.Y. (photo: Robert Silman Associates)  
In the 1980s, the Brooklyn Tabernacle purchased the former Carlton Theatre at 292 Flatbush Avenue at 7th Avenue, converting the 1383-seat theatre into a church. After many years of decline, the church was revitalized as a non-denominational congregation, and became nationally famous as the home of the award-winning Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir. The church remained in this location until 2002 when they purchased and renovated the former Loew's Metropolitan Theatre at 17 Smith Street.
               
  Austin Organ, Op. 567 (1916) in the Brooklyn Tabernacle - Brooklyn, N.Y. (photo: MCNY Collection)
Organ in the rebuilt third Brooklyn Tabernacle, on Clinton Avenue at Greene Street:

Austin Organ Company    
Hartford, Conn. – Opus 567 (1916)
Electro-pneumatic action
3 manuals, 35 stops



Specifications for this organ have not yet been located.
               
Organ in third Brooklyn Tabernacle on Clinton Avenue at Greene Street:

  1890 Jardine Organ in the Brooklyn Tabernacle - Brooklyn, N.Y. (Brooklyn Eagle)
George Jardine & Son
New York City (1890)
Mechanical action, Barker pneumatic assistance
4 manuals, 66 stops, 76? ranks



The third Brooklyn Tabernacle, like its predecessor that burned in 1889, included an organ built by George Jardine & Son. For their 1890 instrument, Jardine installed a large four-manual organ behind a large facade that featured the flared pipes of the Song Trumpet in the center. Tragedy struck for the third time in 1894, when fire broke out in the organ loft, destroying the organ and church.
               
Great Organ (Manual II) – 61 notes
16
  Double Open Diapason
61
4
  Gambetta
61
8
  Open Diapason
61
4
  Flute Harmonic
61
8
  Second Open Diapason
61
3
  Nasard
61
8
  German Gamba
61
2
  Acuta
61
8
  Gemshorn
61
    1st Sexquialtra [sic], 3 ranks
183
8
  Open Flute
61
    2nd Mixture, 5 ranks
305
8
  Dopple Flute
61
16
  Double Trumpet
61
6
  Quint
61
8
  Trumpet
61
4
  Principal
61
4
  Octave Trumpet
61

     

     
Swell Organ (Manual III) – 61 notes, enclosed
16
  Bourdon
61
4
  Violin
61
8
  Open Diapason
61
4
  Flauto Traverso
61
8
  Second Open Diapason
61
2
  Piccolo
61
8
  Stopped Diapason
61
    Cornet, 3 ranks
183
8
  Viol d'Amour
61
16
  Contra Fagotto
61
8
  Aeolina
61
8
  Cornopean
61
8
  Quintadena
61
8
  Oboe and Bassoon
61
8
  Vox Celestes
61
8
  Vox Humana
61
4
  Principal
61
4
  Clarion
61

     

     
Choir Organ (Manual I) – 61 notes, enclosed in separate Swell Box
16
  Lieblich Gedacht
61
4
  Wald Flute
61
8
  Violin Diapason
61
4
  Salicet
61
8
  Keraulophon
61
2
  Flageolet
61
8
  Dulciana
61
    Dolce Cornet, 3 ranks
183
8
  Gedacht
61
8
  Clarionet
61
8
  Melodia
61
8
  Vox Angelica
61
               
Solo Organ (Manual IV) – 61 notes
16
  Double Melodia
61
4
  Concert Flute
61
8
  Cathedral Diapason
61
2
  Fife Harmonic
61
8
  Bell Gamba
61
16
  Bombard
61
8
  Flûte à Pavillion
61
8
  Song Trumpet
61
               
Pedal Organ – 30 notes
32
  Double Open Diapason
30
8
  Bass Flute
30
16
  Open Diapason
30
4
  Night Horn
30
16
  Contra Gamba
30
16
  Trombone
30
16
  Bourdon
30
8
  Tromba
30
8
  Violoncello
30
8
  Bassoon
30
               
Organ in second Brooklyn Tabernacle Presbyterian Church, on Marcy and Jefferson Streets:

  Pen and Ink drawing by H. C. Roth (1952) of Pulpit and Organ in the second Brooklyn Tabernacle Presbyterian Church - Brooklyn, N.Y. (Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn Collection)
 
Pen & Ink drawing by H.C. Roth,
retired newspaper artist (1952)
George Jardine & Son
New York City (1873)
Mechanical action
3 manuals, 43 stops, 42 ranks





For the second Brooklyn Tabernacle, an organ was built in 1873 by George Jardine & Son of New York City. This organ featured a detached console about ten feet from the case, an unenclosed Orchestral Organ located above the Great, and a facade surmounted by the Song Trumpet. Both the Great and Orchestral divisions employed pneumatic assistance. This organ and the church were destroyed by fire in 1889.
               
Great Organ (Manual I) – 58 notes
Great Chorus Organ Great Solo Organ
16
  Double Open Diapason
58
8
  Gamba
58
8
  Open Diapason Major
58
8
  Dulcissima
58
8
  Open Diapason Minor
58
4
  Flute Harmonic
58
8
  Doppel Diapason
58
8
  Trumpet
58
8
  Melody Diapason
58
4
  Clarionet
58
6
  Quint
58
       
4
  Principal
58
       
3
  Twelfth
58
       
2
  Fifteenth
58
       
    Sesquialtera, 3 ranks
174
       
    Cymbal, 2 ranks
116
       
               
Swell Organ (Manual II) – 58 notes, enclosed
16
  Bourdon Bass
58
4
  Echo Flute
58
16
  Bourdon Treble
58
2
  Piccolo
58
8
  Open Diapason
58
    Cornet, 3 ranks
174
8
  Clariana (Bell Gamba)
58
8
  Cornopean
58
8
  Clarionet Flute
58
8
  Oboe and Bassoon
58
8
  Dulciana
58
8
  Vox Humana
58
4
  Violino
58
    Tremulant  
               
Orchestral Organ (Manual III) – 58 notes
8
  Horn Diapason
58
4
  Flûte à Pavillon
58
8
  Concert Flute
58
8
  Song Trumpet
58
               
Pedal Organ – 30 notes
16
  Open Diapason
30
8
  Violoncello
30
16
  Violin
30
8
  Flöte
30
16
  Contra-Bourdon
30
16
  Trombone
30
12
  Gross-Quint
30
       
               
Bells
    2½ octaves of bells struck with a piano action playable on Great or Swell keyboard.
Sharp-effect on bells.
               
Couplers
    Great to Pedal     Swell to Great
    Swell to Pedal     Orchestral to Swell
    Orchestral to Pedal      
               
Organ in first Brooklyn Tabernacle Presbyterian Church, located at Marcy and Jefferson Streets:

  E. & G.G. Hook Organ, Op. 544 (1870) for the Brooklyn Tabernacle - Brooklyn, NY
E. & G.G. Hook
Boston, Mass. – Opus 544 (1870)
Mechanical action
2 manuals, 23 stops, 27 ranks




In 1870, the E. & G.G. Hook company of Boston installed an organ in the first Brooklyn Tabernacle. As a basis for this organ, the Hooks incorporated their one-manual-and-pedal, thirteen-register organ (opus 497) built for the National Peace Jubilee and Musical Festival. The Peace Jubilee, a monumental event to celebrate the restoration of the Union of the States, took place in Boston's Coliseum from June 15-19, 1869, and audiences were treated to five days of music featuring over 1000 instrumentalists and 10,000 vocalists. The Hooks added a Swell manuale, a detached console, and an additional 16' flue stop to the Pedal. The wind to the organ was supplied by three water engines, patented by Monroe Stannard and made by Pratt, Whitney & Co., Hartford, Conn.

The following specifications are from a three-page description of the organ in an unknown publication. This organ and the church were destroyed by fire in 1872.
               
Great Manuale (Manual I) – 63 notes [C-d4] (7" pressure) 
16
  Bourdon bass
12
2
  Super octave bass
24
16
  Bourdon treble *
39
2
  Super octave treble
39
8
  Flute à pavillion bass
24
  Grand Cornet, 5 ranks
315
8
  Flute à pavillion treble **
39
16
  Bombarde bass
24
8
  Gamba bass
24
16
  Bombarde treble
39
8
  Gamba treble
39
8
  Tuba mirabilis bass
24
8
  Doppel flöte bass
24
8
  Tuba mirabilis treble
39
8
  Doppel flöte treble (wood)
39
4
  Clarion bass
24
4
  Octave bass
24
4
  Clarion treble
39
4
  Octave treble
39
   
4
  Viola bass
24
 
* Double mouthed from c0, wood
4
  Violina treble
39
 
** Open diapason, Large scale, metal
               
Swell Manuale (Manual II) – 63 notes [C-d4] (7" pressure)
8
  Open diapason
63
2 2/3
  Twelfth
63
8
  Dulciana or Keraulophon
63
2
  Fifteenth
63
8
  Stopped diapason (wood)
63
8
  Oboe
63
4
  Flauto traverso (wood)
63
8
  Trumpet
63
4
  Octave or Violina
63
  Swell tremulant
               
Pedal Organ – 27 notes
16
  Grand Sub Bass (wood)
39
16
  Bourdon (wood)
27
10 2/3
  Quint (from Sub Bass)
16
  Possaune (wood)
39
8
  Flöte (from Sub Bass)
8
  Ophyclyde (from Possaune)
               
Mechanical Registers
    Great to swell, coupler   Bellows (for engines)  
    Pedals to swell, coupler      
           
Pedal Movements
1.
  Combination pedal to bring on all great manuale stops
2.
  Combination pedal to bring on all great manuale stops, except reeds
3.
  Combination pedal to bring on Flute à pavillion, Gamba, Doppel flöte
4.
  Combination pedal to bring on Octave, Viola, Super octave
5.
  Combination pedal to bring on all the reeds
6.
  Octave coupler to great manuale, from middle C upward
7.
  Great to pedal coupler
8.
  Pedal to effect pedale stops
9.
  Tremulant
               
Sources:
     Blanchard, Homer D. "The Organ in the United States: A Study in Design", The Bicentennial Tracker. Richmond: Organ Historical Society, Inc., 1976.
     Brooklyn Tabernacle web site: www.brooklyntabernacle.org
     Jarman, Rufus. "Big Boom in Boston," American Hertiage Magazine, June 1969.
     Nelson, George. Organs in the United States and Canada Database. Seattle, Wash.
     Ochse, Orpha. The History of the Organ in the United States. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1975.
     Ogasapian, John. Organ Building in New York City: 1700-1900. Braintree: The Organ Literature Foundation, 1977.
     Robert Silman Associates web site: http://www.rsapc.com
     Stiles, Henry Reed. History of the City of Brooklyn, New York. Brooklyn: 1867-70.
     
Talmage, The Rev. Dr. T. DeWitt. As I Knew Him. New York: E.P. Dutton and Company, 1912.
     Trupiano, Larry. Specifications of the E. & G.G. Hook organ, Op. 497 (1869) in the National Peace Jubilee and Music Festival; information about how it was incorporated into the Brooklyn Tabernacle organ.

Photos and images:
     Brooklyn Tabernacle web site. Exterior.
     Museum of the City of New York. Interior (c.1915) of Brooklyn Tabernacle.
     Robert Silman Associates web site. Interior of present Brooklyn Tabernacle on Smith Street.
     Roth, H.C. Pen and ink drawing (1952). Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn Collection.
     Trupiano, Larry. Drawing of E. & G.G. Hook organ, Op 544 (1870).
     Wilcox, Julius. Interior (1892) of third Brooklyn Tabernacle showing George Jardine & Son organ (1890). Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn Collection.