Church of the Strangers - New York City (Wurts Bros., 1928)
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"Deems Memorial" Church of the Strangers
(Non-denominational)

309 West 57th Street
New York, N.Y. 10019

Organ Specifications:
309 West 57th Street (1898-1944)
Second building (1928-1944):
• unknown
First building (1898-1928)
III/26 M.P. Möller, Inc., Op. 1569 (1913)
• II/ Hilborne L. Roosevelt, Op. 6 (1873)
299 Mercer Street at Waverly Place (1870-1898)
II/18 Henry Erben (1839)


Church of the Strangers (Mercer Street, 1893) - New York City  
Mercer Street (1870-1898)  
The Church of the Strangers was established in 1868 by The Rev. Charles Alexander Force Deems (1820-1893). Deems was born in Baltimore, Md., and graduated from Dickinson College in 1839. He taught at the University of North Carolina (1842-1847) and then at Randolph Macon College (1847-1848). After two years of preaching at New Bern, N.C., he was president of Greensboro (N.C.) Female College (1850-1854) . He continued as a Methodist Episcopal clergyman at various pastorates in North Carolina from 1854 to 1865, for the last seven years being a presiding elder and from 1859 to 1863 being the proprietor of St Austins Institute, Wilson.

In 1865 Deems moved to New York City, where in 1866 he began preaching in the chapel of New York University, and in 1868 he established and became the pastor of the non-denominational Church of the Strangers, which in 1870 occupied the former Mercer Street Presbyterian Church, purchased and given to Deems by Cornelius Vanderbilt; there he remained until his death in New York City in November 1893. At this time, the church became known as "Deems Memorial."

In 1898 Deems Memorial Church relocated to 57th Street, just west of Eighth Avenue, where a new church building was erected. This building was replaced in 1928 by a "Skyscraper Church" in which the church occupied the lower floors of a high-rise building. The church disbanded in 1944.
 
M. P. Möller, Inc.
Hagerstown, Md. – Opus 1569 (1913)
Electro-pneumatic action
3 manuals, 28 stops, 26 ranks


The Agreement (Apr. 15, 1913) between M.P. Möller and Church of the Strangers states Möller would build a new organ for the sum of $5,000. Möller indicated the organ would be complete and ready for use on or before September 1, 1913, or as soon after as possible. This organ may have been moved to the new church building in 1928.
               
Great Organ (Manual II) – 61 notes
16
  Open Diapason
61
8
  Doppel Floete
61
8
  Open Diapason
61
8
  Gemshorn
61
8
  Gamba
61
4
  Harmonic Flute
61
               
Swell Organ (Manual III) – 61 notes, enclosed
16
  Bourdon
73
4
  Octave
73
8
  Open Diapason
73
2
  Harmonic Piccolo (Flageolet)
61
8
  Viol d'Orchestre
73
8
  Trumpet
73
8
  Viol Celeste [TC]
61
8
  Oboe
73
8
  Aeoline
73
8
  Vox Humana
73
8
  Gedeckt
73
  Tremolo

     

     
Choir Organ (Manual I) – 61 notes, enclosed
8
  Geigen Principal
61
4
  Flute d'Amour (Wald Flute)
61
8
  Dulciana
61
8
  Saxophone (reeds)
61
8
  Rohr Flute
61
  Tremolo
               
Pedal Organ – 32 notes
16
  Open Diapason
32
16
  Violone [16' Op. Diap.]
GT
16
  Bourdon
32
8
  Bass Flute
32
16
  Dulcet Bass ("polyphone") *
16
  Trombone
32
           
* lo-pressure 16' Bourdon
Couplers
    Great to Pedal   Swell to Great 8', 4'
    Swell to Pedal 8', 4'   Choir to Great
    Choir to Pedal   Swell to Choir
    Pedal Octave   Swell 16', 4'
               
Adjustable Combinations
   
Pistons 1-2-3-4 affecting Swell Organ
Pistons 1-2-3 affecting Great Organ
Pistons 1-2-3 affecting Choir Organ
Pistons 1-2-3 affecting Pedal Organ
Pistons 1-2 affecting Full Organ
               
Pedal Movements
    Great to Pedal Reversible      
    Balanced Pedal to Swell      
    Balanced Pedal to Choir      
    Balanced Crescendo Pedal      
               
Organ in church (originally Church of Our Saviour, aka Sixth Universalist) on West 57th Street:

Hilborne L. Roosevelt
New York City – Opus 6 (1873)
Mechanical action
2 manuals


The original organ in the Church of Our Saviour was the sixth instrument built by Hilborne L. Roosevelt in 1873. Roosevelt's diary for February 16, 1875, reports: "My new soundboard was first used in organ No. 6 on the Pedal with great success." Specifications for this organ have not yet been located.

In 1913, M.P. Möller rebuilt and electrified (as Op. 1706) the 1873 Roosevelt organ, adding a new Vox Humana, Chimes and console, and moved it to the Carnegie Lyceum, located in the basement of Carnegie Hall.
               
Organ in church located on Mercer Street at Waverly Place:

Henry Erben
New York City (1839)
Mechanical action
2 manuals, 18 stops, 18 ranks


The following specification was recorded by F.R. Webber, organ historian, whose "Organ Notebooks" are in the Organ HIstorical Society Archive, Princeton, N.J. Webber noted that this organ was rebuilt in 1923 (or 1925?) by Louis (Mohr?), and was now in St. Paul's Lutheran, 796 E. 156th, Bronx. It is not known if the organ was altered when rebuilt.
               
Great Organ (Manual I)
8
  Open diapason  
8
  Stopped diapason  
8
  Viola da gamba *  
4
  Night horn  
8
  Dulciana  
4
  Octave  
8
  Melodia  
2
  Fifteenth  

     

 
* "Mixture" in another source
Swell Organ (Manual II) – enclosed
16
  Bourdon  
8
  Stopped diapason  
8
  Open diapason  
4
  Principal  
8
  Dulciana  
4
  Flute  
8
  Violin diapason  
8
  Oboe  
               
Pedal Organ
16
  Open Diapason          
16
  Bourdon          
               
Sources:
     Blanchard, Homer D. "The Organ in the Unitied States. A Study in Design," The Bicentennial Tracker: In Commemoration of the Bicentennial of the United States of America, 1776-1976, and the Twentieth Anniversary of The Organ Historical Society, 1956-1976. Richmond: The Organ Historical Society, 1976, p. 57.
     Farnam, Lynnwood. "Organ Notebook," p.1181. Specifications of M.P. Möller organ, Op. 1569 (1913). John de Lancie Library, The Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia; Sally Branca, Archivist. Courtesy Jonathan Bowen.
     Trupiano, Larry. Agreement (Apr. 15, 1913) and Specifications for M.P. Möller organ, Op. 1569.
     Trupiano, Larry. Information from Möller Ledger Book regarding M.P. Möller organ, Op. 1706 (1913).
     Webber, F.R. "Organ scrapbook" at Organ Historical Society Archive, Princeton, N.J. Specifications of Henry Erben organ (1839). Courtesy Jonathan Bowen.

Illustrations:
     Unknown. Half-tone print (1893) of building on Mercer Street.
     Wurts Bros. (New York, N.Y.). Photo (1928) of church on West 57th Street. Collection of the Museum of the City of New York.