St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church - Flatlands, Brooklyn, NY
Click on images to enlarge
Church of St. Thomas Aquinas
(Roman Catholic)

1550 Hendrickson Street at Avenue P
Brooklyn, N.Y. 11234
http://stthomasaquinasbrooklyn.com


Organ Specifications:
1550 Hendrickson Street at Avenue P (since 1930):
• Rodgers Instruments electronic (2008)
• Allen Organ Company electronic (c.1969)
• III/ Geo. Kilgen & Son, Op. 4635 (1931) – Echo added
III/26 Geo. Kilgen & Son, Op. 4603 (1930)
2024 Flatbush Avenue (1885-1930):
• unknown


1885 building of St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church - Flatlands, Brooklyn, N.Y. (Brooklyn Public Library)  
1951 photo showing 1885 church with 1930 church behind  
   
The parish of St. Thomas Aquinas began as a mission of Holy Cross Church to serve Catholics in the town of Flatlands. In 1884 construction began on a wooden frame church on Flatbush Avenue, and in January 1885 the church was opened. Bishop Loughlin dedicated the church on May 31, 1885. Parish boundaries extended as far north as Holy Cross, on the east to Holy Family in Canarsie, on the west to Saint Mark's, and on the south to Jamaica Bay. Life in Flatlands remained simple well into the twentieth century, and parishioners walked across fields or traveled by horse and carriage on dirt roads to Mass. Even as late as 1920, Flatlands remained a predominately rural community and the landscape was dotted with farmhouses, barns and stables. In 1896, Flatlands became part of the city of Brooklyn, and in 1898 Brooklyn became part of New York City.

St. Thomas Aquinas Church flourished as the area became more populated, and in September 1924 St. Thomas Aquinas School, on Flatlands Avenue, opened with 362 students in grades one through five. The present church with its 155-foot tower was built on the Hendrickson Street side of the church property, and the church and rectory were completed in April 1930. Bishop Thomas Molloy dedicated the new church on October 30, 1932. The original church (now known as the Little Church) on Flatbush Avenue was turned into a gymnasium, but in the late 1950s the Little Church was once again used for Masses. By the 1960s it was discovered that the 1930 church building was structurally unsound due to being built above an underground stream, and in 1969 the church was reconstructed and modernized. In the 1990s the sanctuary of the church was renovated.
           
Rodgers Instruments, LLC
Hillsboro, Ore. (2008)
Digital tone generation


A new electronic organ, built by Rodgers Instruments, will be installed in January 2008. Specifications for this organ have not yet been made available.
           
Allen Organ Company
Macungie, Penn. (c.1969)
Electronic tone production


The present organ in St. Thomas Aquinas Church was built by the Allen Organ Company. Specifications for this organ have not yet been located.
           
Geo. Kilgen & Son
St. Louis, Mo. – Opus 4635 (1931)
Electro-pneumatic action
3 manuals


In 1931, the Kilgen Organ Company added an Echo division to their 1931 organ. Specifications of this addition have not yet been located. This organ was removed c.1969 due to its weight when the church was found to be structurally unsound.
           
Geo. Kilgen & Son
St. Louis, Mo. – Opus 4603 (1930)
Electro-pneumatic action
3 manuals, 34 stops, 26 ranks


The Kilgen Organ Company announced the following specfications in the September 1930 issue of The Diapason.
               
Great Organ (Manual II) – 61 notes, enclosed
16
  Double Open Diapason
61
8
  Clarabella
61
8
  Open Diapason
61
4
  Principal
61
8
  Gamba
61
4
  Harmonic Flute
61
8
  Dulciana
61
8
  Trumpet
61
 
     
 
     
Swell Organ (Manual III) – 61 notes, enclosed
16
  Bourdon
73
4
  Violina
73
8
  Open Diapason
73
4
  Flute
73
8
  Salicional
73
8
  Oboe
73
8
  Voix Celeste [TC]
61
8
  Vox Humana
73
8
  Aeoline
73
    Tremolo  
8
  Stopped Diapason
73
       
               
Choir Organ (Manual I) – 61 notes, enclosed
8
  Geigen Principal
73
2
  Piccolo
61
8
  Viola Dulciana
73
8
  Clarinet
73
8
  Melodia
73
    Tremolo  
4
  Flute d'Amour
73
     
 
     
 
     
Pedal Organ – 32 notes
32
  Contra Bourdon [resultant]
8
  Octave [ext.]
16
  First Open Diapason
44
8
  Bourdon [ext.]
16
  Second Open Diapason
GT
8
  Flauto Dolce
SW
16
  Bourdon
56
8
  Cello
GT
16
  Dolce Bourdon
SW
4
  Bourdon [ext.]
           
Sources:
     The American Organist (Sept. 1930). Specifications of Geo. Kilgen & Son organ, Op. 4603 (1930). Courtesy Jonathan Bowen.
     The Diapason (Sept. 1930). Specifications of Geo. Kilgen & Son organ, Op. 4603 (1930). Courtesy Jonathan Bowen.
     Nelson, George. Organs in the United States and Canada Database. Seattle, Wash.
     St. Thomas Aquinas Church web site: http://stthomasaquinasbrooklyn.com

Illustrations:
     Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn Collection. Photo (1951) of 1885 church with 1930 church behind.
     Toal, Joan. Present church exterior.