St. Augustine Presbyterian Church - Bronx, NY
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St. Augustine Presbyterian Church

838 East 165th Street at Prospect Avenue
Bronx, N.Y. 10459


Organ Specifications:
III/15 Austin Organ Co., Op. 1788 (1931) – inst. 1961
unknown


St. Augustine Presbyterian Church was founded in 1938 by the Rev. Edler Garnet Hawkins. During the 1940s and 1950s, the congregation grew to more than a thousand members, which included mostly African-Americans and Puerto Ricans. In 1964, Rev. Hawkins was elected the first African-American moderator of the United Presbyterian Church, and served St. Augustine until his death in 1977. The brick neo-Gothic building was constructed in 1906 for the Woodstock Presbyterian Church; that congregation merged into the Home Street Presbyterian Church in 1938.
             
  Austin Organ, Op. 1788 (1931) in St. Augustine Presbyterian Church - The Bronx, N.Y. (photo: David Schmauch)
   
Austin Organ Company
Hartford, Conn. – Opus 1788 (1931)
Electro-pneumatic action
3 manuals, 49 stops, 15 ranks



This theatre organ was built in 1931 by the Austin Organ Company for station WHK of the Radio Air Service Corp. in Cleveland, Ohio. Austin's Op. 1778 was known as a "unified" (theatre) model, and it included a three-manual Art Deco console and an automatic player. The organ cost $16,500. In 1950, the organ was donated to the Bethel Home of the World Headquarters of the Jehovah's Witnesses in Brooklyn, where it was installed in new building addition then underway. The organ was used there until about 1960, at which time the organ was in need of major repairs. The Witnesses decided that pipe organs did not fit into their religious profile and, in 1961, the organ was sold and moved to St. Augustine Presbyterian Church in The Bronx.

Charles Scharpeger recorded the following specifications for Louis F. Mohr & Co., on two occasions: once in February 1962, and the following on January 7, 1963. Pipecounts are suggested, based on typical specifications by Austin of that time.

As of 2009, the organ is unplayable as the console appears to be disconnected and the pedalboard has been detached and placed in a corner. The pipework in the chambers is in good shape, but the unenclosed Tibia (centered under the window) is in bad condition.
               
Great Organ (Manual II) – 61 notes, enclosed with Choir
16
  Tibia [TC]
2 2/3
  Concert Flute
16
  Concert Flute [TC]
2
  Concert Flute
16
  Viole d'Orchestre * [unit]
73
16
  Vox Humana [TC]
8
  Diapason
61
8
  Tuba
61
8
  Tibia [unit]
85
8
  Trumpet
61
8
  Concert Flute
85
8
 
Kinura
preparation
8
  Gemshorn
61
8
 
Vox Humana
61
8
  Viole d'Orchestre
    Tremolo  
8
  Viole Celeste [TC]
49
    Harp  
8
  Violoncello
61
    Celesta  
4
  Tibia
   
Chimes
25 tubes
4
  Concert Flute
   
* unenclosed
 
 
     
 
     
Swell Organ (Manual III) – 61 notes (73-note chests), enclosed
16
  Bourdon [unit]
97
4
  Muted Viole
73
8
  Diapason
73
2 2/3
  Nazard
8
  Stopped Flute
2
  Piccolo
8
  Viole d'Orchestre
GT
8
  Trumpet
GT
8
  Viole Celeste
GT
8
  Oboe
73
8
  Violoncello
GT
8
  Vox Humana
GT
4
  Flute d'Amour
    Tremolo  
 
     
 
     
Choir Organ (Manual I) – 61 notes, enclosed
8
  Tibia
GT
8
  Tuba
GT
8
  Concert Flute
GT
8
  Trumpet
GT
8
  Gemshorn
GT
8
  Clarinet
73
8
  Violoncello
GT
    Harp
GT
4
  Concert Flute
GT
    Celesta
GT
2 2/3
  Nazard
GT
    Chimes
GT
               
Pedal Organ – 32 notes
32
  Resultant Bass
8
  Tibia
GT
16
  Open Diapason [ext. GT]
12
8
  Flute
GT
16
  Violone
GT
8
  Violoncello
GT
16
  Bourdon
SW
16
  Trombone [ext. GT Tpt.]
12
8
  Open Diapason
GT
       
               
Couplers
    Great to Pedal 8', 4'   Swell to Choir 16', 8', 4'
    Swell to Pedal 8', 4'   Choir to Swell 16', 8', 4'
    Choir to Pedal 8'   Great 16', 4', Unison
    Swell to Great 16', 8', 4'   Swell 16', 4', Unison
    Choir to Great 16', 8', 4'   Choir 16', 4', Unison
         
Adjustable Combinations
    Pistons No. 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8 affecting Full Organ (1-6 dup. by toe studs)
    Pistons No. 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8 affecting Great stops and couplers
    Pistons No. 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8 affecting Swell stops and couplers
    Pistons No. 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8 affecting Choir stops and couplers
    Cancel  
       
Pedal Movements
    Balanced Swell Pedal   Great to Pedal Reversible
    Balanced Great & Choir Pedal   Swell to Great Reversible
    Crescendo Pedal   Swell to Choir Reversible
    Toe Studs No. 1-2-3-4-5-6 (Generals)   Sforzando Pedal
         
   
Austin Organ, Op. 1788 (1931) in St. Augustine Presbyterian Church - The Bronx, N.Y. (photo: David Schmauch)   Austin Organ, Op. 1788 (1931) in St. Augustine Presbyterian Church - The Bronx, N.Y. (photo: David Schmauch)
               
Sources:
     Bornias, Steven E. Electronic mail correspondence regarding the organs in Bethel Home.
     Nelson, George. Organs in the United States and Canada Database. Seattle, Wash.
     Ochse, Orpha. Austin Organs. Richmond: The Organ Historical Society, 2001.
     "Presbytery Vote Closes 2 Churches," The New York Times, March 16, 1938.
     "St. Augustine's Presbyterian Church 1930-1970," Bronx African American History Project, The Bronx County Historical Society; courtesy Larry Trupiano.
     Scharpeger, Charles. Specifications of Austin Organ, Op. 1788 (1931); courtesy Larry Trupiano.

Illustrations:
     Google.com street view of exterior.
     Schmauch, David: photos of Austin Organ, Op. 1788 (1931).