St. John Catholic Church - Kingsbridge (Bronx), NY (photo: Jim Henderson)
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Church of St. John
(Roman Catholic)

3021 Kingsbridge Avenue near 230th Street
Bronx, N.Y. 10463


Organ Specifications:
Present building – Upper Church (since 1910)
• III/ Allen Organ Company electronic
• II/ Hammond Musical Instrument Co. – Model B-3 (1950s?)
I/7 J.H. & C.S. Odell, Op. 72 (1868)
Present building – Lower Church (since 1893)
I/7 J.H. & C.S. Odell, Op. 72 (1868) – used; inst. (1901)
First building (1877-1893)
• unknown


The Parish of St. John in Kingsbridge was originally a mission of St. Mary's Church in Yonkers and was later under the care of the Jesuits of Fordham. An old schoolhouse on Spuyten Duyvil Hill was used for Mass. In 1869 the parish of St. Elizabeth in Fort Washington was organized, and St. John's became an out-mission of that parish. The next year, in 1870, Rev. Henry A. Brann was placed in charge of St. John's mission, a pastorate that would continue sixteen years. Father Brann bought land and built a small frame church that was dedicated by Cardinal McCloskey on December 4, 1877. Succeeding Fr. Brann was Rev. Edward O'Gormann, the first resident pastor appointed to St. John's, who served from 1885-1903. During his tenure, additional property was acquired and in 1893 the old church was removed and one-half of the basement of the present structure was completed at a cost of $21,000.

Under the leadership of Rev. Daniel H. O'Dwyer, construction began on the upper church in 1907. Designed in the Tudor style, the interior featured a copy of Brumidi's paint, "Crucifixion," above the altar. The completed church was dedicated by Archbishop Farley on May 22, 1910. The old basement church was then refurbished to contain a chapel, hall, theatre, club-rooms and gymnasium. In 1966, the church was renovated to include modern Stations of the Cross on new walls, a steeple with electronic carillon was added, and the lower church was redone in contemporary style. Cardinal Spellman presided at the solemn mass of rededication on October 29, 1966.
         
Allen Organ Company
Macungie, Penn.
Electronic tonal production
3 manuals


Specifications for this organ have not yet been located.
         
Hammond Musical Instrument Company
Chicago, Ill. – Model B-3 (1950s)
Electric action
2 manuals
         
J.H. & C.S. Odell & Co.
New York City – Opus 72 (1868) – used; installed (1901)
Mechanical action
1 manual, 7 stops, 7 ranks


An entry dated August 27, 1901 in a Ledger Book of J.H. & C.S. Odell states "One manual Second hand organ set up per agreement." This organ was Odell's Op. 72 of 1868. The agreement was "To allow for Old organ any time within 10 years less expense of moving tuning &c if New organ is bough [sic] from us."

The following specifications were recorded (April 25, 1923) by Louis F. Mohr & Co., an organ service concern in the area. A pencilled note (dated Feb. 2, 1966) stated "Organ now in St. Mary's R.C. Church, Mt. Vernon, N.Y." and "damaged by fire and heat 2/66."
               
Manual – 56 notes, enclosed
8
  Diapason [TC] (unenclosed?)
44
4
  Principal Bass
12
8
  Stopped Diapason Bass
12
4
  Principal [TC]
44
8
  Melodia [TC]
44
2 2/3
  Twelfth [TC]
44
8
  Dolcissimo [TC]
44
2
  Fifteenth
56
 
     
 
     
Pedal Organ – 20 notes
16
  Bourdon
20
       
               
Accessories (not listed but assumed)
    Manual to Pedal Coupler          
    Swell Pedal          
           
Sources:
     "Bronx Church Is Crowned With a Spire in 3 Hours," The New York Times (Mar. 15, 1966, p. 41).
     The Catholic Church in the United States of America: Undertaken to Celebrate the Golden Jubilee of His Holiness, Pope Pius X, Vol. III. New York: The Catholic Editing Company, 1914.
     Fierro, Tom. Electronic correspondence (July 6, 2010) regarding organs in St. John's Kingsbridge.
     J.H. & C.S. Odell & Co. Ledger Book (Aug. 27, 1901, p. 18) regarding set up of second hand Odell organ, Op. 72 (1868). Courtesy Larry Trupiano.
     Mohr, Louis F. & Co. Specifications (Apr. 25, 1923) of J.H. & C.S. Odell Organ, Op. 72 (1868). Courtesy Larry Trupiano.
     "St. John's in Bronx Is Rededicated," The New York Times (Oct. 30, 1966, p. 87).
     Shelley, Thomas J. The Bicentennial History of the Archdiocese of New York 1808-2008. Strasbourg: Éditions du Signe, 2007.

Illustration:
     Henderson, Jim. Exterior of church.