Fort Washington Heights Presbyterian Church - New York City

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Iglesia Presbiteriana Fort Washington Heights
Fort Washington Presbyterian Church

21 Wadsworth Avenue at 174th Street
New York, N.Y. 10033




The Fort Washington Presbyterian Church was founded in 1913, the result of a merger agreement between the West Presbyterian and Park Presbyterian Churches. When the old West Church on 42nd Street was sold for $1,100,000, the proceeds were used to build and endow a new church in the Washington Heights area of Upper Manhattan. The neighborhood is named for Fort Washington that had been erected during the American Revolution on a ridge between what are now 181st and 186th Streets.

 
The Fort Washington congregation remained affiliated with West Park Presbyterian until 1923. Over the years, the demographics of Washington Heights evolved to include a large Puerto Rican and Dominican population, and since 1948 Spanish-language services have been held in the church building. Fort Washington Presbyterian disbanded in 1982 and the building was turned over to the Hispanic congregation, now known as Iglesia Presbiteriana Fort Washington Heights.

Thomas Hastings (1860-1929), co-founder of the renowned architectural firm of Carrère & Hastings, designed the neo-Georian building. Hastings designed a similar building in 1904 for the First Church of Christ, Scientist, located on Central Park West at 96th Street. In May 2009, the Fort Washington church building was designated by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.
               
  Fort Washington Heights Presbyterian Church - New York City (Architecture and Building, March 1914)
Austin Organ Company
Hartford, Conn. – Opus 457 (1914)
Electro-pneumatic action
3 manuals, 23 stops, 21 ranks




The following specification is from the files of Louis F. Mohr & Co., a longtime organ service concern in the area. Pipecounts were not given but are suggested, based on similar Austin organs of that era.
               
Great Organ (Manual II) – 61 notes (enclosed with Choir?)
16
  Bourdon
61
8
  Gemshorn
61
8
  Open Diapason
61
4
  Octave
61
8
  Clarabella
61
4
  Harmonic Flute
61

     
 
     
Swell Organ (Manual III) – 61 notes, enclosed
16
  Lieblich Gedeckt
73
8
  Viola Celeste [TC]
61
8
  Open Diapason
73
8
  Salicional
73
8
  Doppel Flute
73
4
  Flute Traverso
73
8
  Viol d'Orchestre
73
8
  Oboe
73
               
Choir Organ (Manual I) – 61 notes, enclosed
8
  Melodia
73
2
  Piccolo
61
8
  Dulciana
73
8
  Clarinet
73
4
  Flute d'Amour
73
       

     

     
Pedal Organ – 32 notes
16
  Open Diapason [unit]
44
16
  Lieblich Gedeckt
SW
16
  Bourdon
32
8
  Flute [Open Diap.]
               
Couplers
    [Great to Pedal] – not listed   Choir to Great 16', 8', 4'
    [Swell to Pedal] – not listed   Swell to Choir 16', 8', 4'
    [Choir to Pedal] – not listed   Swell to Swell 16', 4', Unison
    Swell to Great 16', 8', 4'   Choir to Choir 16', 4', Unison
               
Combinations
   
Swell Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-6 (thumb)
Great Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-6 (thumb)
Choir Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-6 (thumb)
Pedal Organ Pistons 1-2-3 (toe)
               
Pedal Movements
    Balanced Swell Expression Pedal   Forte Pedal
    Balanced Choir Expression Pedal   Great to Pedal Reversible
   
Crescendo Pedal
   
               
Sources:
     "Commission Landmarks Two Districts and a Presbyterian Church, and Calendars Public Hearings for 13 Sites," Press Release (May 12, 2009), The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.
     Dunlap, David W. From Abyssinian to Zion: A Guide to Manhattan's Houses of Worship. New York: Columbia University Press, 2004.
     "'God Had Made Up His Mind,' Pastor Says In Story of Founding of Uptown Church," The New York Times, March 28, 1938.
     Mohr, Louis F. & Co. Specifications of Austin Organ, Op. 457 (1914). Courtesy Larry Trupiano.
     Ochse, Orpha. Austin Organs. Richmond: The Organ Historical Society, 2001.

Illustrations:
     Architecture and Building, Vol. XLVI, No. 3 (March 1914). Exterior and interior.
     New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. Exterior (color)