Madison Square Presbyterian Church - New York City (photo: Louis H. Dreyer, 1906)
 

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Madison Square Presbyterian Church

11 Madison Avenue at 24th Street
New York, N.Y. 10001

Organ Specifications:
Merged into First Presbyterian Church (1918)
11 Madison Avenue, NE corner 24th Street (1906-1919)
IV/77 Hutchings-Votey, Op. 1550 (c.1904)
7 Madison Avenue, SE corner 24th Street (1854-1906)
• III/43 Hall & Labagh (1857)


Madison Square Presbyterian Church, 7 Madison Avenue - New York City (1905 postcard)  
7 Madison Avenue
 

Madison Square Presbyterian Church was a Presbyterian church located on Madison Square Park at the southeast corner of East 24th Street and Madison Avenue. The society was established in the winter of 1852–53 when a number of persons, most of whom were members of Central Presbyterian Church on Broome Street, met to discuss the formation of a new church in the upper part of the city. At this time, the population was rapidly moving northward and the old downtown churches were in great decline. In February 1853, the congregations of Central Presbyterian and Pearl Street Presbyterian decided to combine and form one new church designated as the Central Presbyterian Church, with Rev. A. A. Wood, then in charge of the Pearl Street Church, as pastor, and that a new church be erected in the vicinity of Madison Square, with the Rev. Dr. William Adams, pastor of the Central Church, as its pastor. An eligible site on the southeast corner of Madison Avenue and 24th Street was secured, and a building committee was formed on February 8, 1853. Beginning the following Sunday, February 13, the new congregation commenced public worship in the chapel of the Union Theological Seminary on University Place. Construction on the church began in 1853, the cornerstone was laid on July 12, 1853, and the church was completed in 1854. It was designed by Richard M. Upjohn, the son of noted architect Richard Upjohn, in the Gothic Revival architectural style. Dr. White served as the church's pastor until 1873, when he left to take the position as president of the Union Theological Seminary.

 
 
Madison Square, Church & Met Life

Reports had reached the leaders of the congregation in the 1890s that Metropolitan Life was interested in acquiring the site of the church so that it could consolidate its operations in the block bounded by 23rd Street, 24th Street, Madison Avenue and Park Avenue South (then known as Fourth Avenue). The elders of the church agreed that they wanted to move the congregation further uptown, but would be willing to sell the site if an appropriate location could be found near the existing church. As the years progressed, the church was increasingly affected by the construction of new office space by Metropolitan Life and became more willing to reach a compromise with their corporate neighbor. Representatives of Metropolitan Life contacted the church in May 1902 with an offer to make a 75 by 150 feet plot across 24th Street, on the northeast corner of Madison Avenue, as a replacement for the original site. An agreement was reached with the insurer later that year in which the company paid the church $325,000 that would be used towards the construction of a new church. Once the new church was completed the old building was demolished and became the site of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower, a 48-story building completed in 1909, which was the world's tallest building until 1913, when it was surpassed by the Woolworth Building in downtown Manhattan.

 
11 Madison Avenue
 

The second church was designed by Stanford White in a High Renaissance architectural style, with a prominent central dome over a cubical central space in an abbreviated Greek cross plan. To hold its own with the towering commercial blocks surrounding it, both built and to come, its entrance was through a portico supported by six pale green granite columns, fully 30 feet tall. The building was raised on a marble plinth and built of specially molded bricks in two slightly varied tonalities in a diaper pattern and white and colored architectural terracotta details. It featured a low saucer dome covered in yellow and green tiling, with a prominent gilded lantern. The pediment sculptures by the German-born Adolph Alexander Weinman were tinted by the painter Henry Siddons Mowbray, giving the building a polychromy unusual in American Beaux-Arts architecture. Extensive mosaics by Louis Comfort Tiffany and Guastavino tile gave the interior a Byzantine aspect. The new church, valued at $500,000 and called the "Parkhurst Church" after its pastor, the Rev. Dr. Charles H. Parkhurst, was described as "one of the most costly religious edifices in the city." It was awarded the Gold Medal of Honor of the American Institute of Architects. The building was constructed in 1906 and the completed church was dedicated on October 14, 1906.

As the city's residents continued to move uptown, churches in lower Manhattan experienced a loss of members and financial support. In 1918, the Madison Square and University Place Presbyterian churches combined with Old First Presbyterian Church on Fifth Avenue. Madison Square's property was purchased by Metropolitan Life for $500,000, with the funds used to endow the combined churches. While the original stained glass windows, organ and seating had been removed and transferred to the Old First Presbyterian Church, and the pediment with its sculptures was reerected on the south-facing Park façade of McKim, Mead, and White's Metropolitan Museum of Art, the other architectural details were left to be scavenged by the wrecking company that razed the building. The New York Times described the building as having "long been recognized as one of the masterpieces of the late Stanford White" and called the church's destruction "a distinct architectural loss to the city".

             
  Hutchings-Votey organ, Op. 1550 (1904) in Madison Square Presbyterian Church - New York City
  East Division Cases in Chancel
 
Gallery Case of Hutchings-Votey organ, Op. 1550 (1904) in Madison Square Presbyterian Church - New York City
  West Division Case in Gallery
Organ in church located at 11 Madison Avenue:

Hutchings-Votey Organ Co.
Boston, Mass. – Opus 1550 (c.1904)
Electro-pneumatic action
4 manuals, 77 stops, 62 ranks





Hutchings-Votey organ, Op. 1550 (1904) in Madison Square Presbyterian Church - New York City

West: 41 stops, 32 ranks
East: 36 stops, 30 ranks

H.E. (Howard Elmore) Parkhurst (1848-1916), Organist and Choir Master. Caught in the undertow and drowned while bathing at the seashore off Lavallette, N.J.
Dr. Charles H. Parkhurst (1842-1933, Pastor (brother of Howard). No children.

               
Great Organ (Manual II) – 61 notes
    East Division       West Division  
16
  Diapason
61
16
  Diapason (wood)
61
8
  Diapason
61
8
  Diapason
61
8
  Diapason (wood)
61
8
  Grosse Flöte (wood)
SO
8
  Gamba
61
8
  Doppel Flöte (wood)
61
8
  Flauto Dolce (wood)
61
4
  Octave
61
4
  Octave *
61
4
  Flute Harmonique
SO
2
  Wald Flute (wood)
61
8
  Tuba
SO
    Mixture, 3 ranks *
183
       
8
  Trumpet *
61
       
   
* enclosed in Choir
       

     

     
Swell Organ (Manual III) – 61 notes, enclosed
    East Division       West Division  
16
  Melodia (wood)
61
16
  Gamba
61
8
  Diapason
61
8
  Diapason
61
8
  Gemshorn
61
8
  Salicional
61
8
  Viol d'Orchestre
61
8
  Quintadena
61
8
  Voix Céleste [TC]
49
8
  Horn Diapason (wood)
61
8
  Æeoline
61
4
  Salicet
61
8
  Gedackt (wood)
61
4
  Flauto Traverso (wood)
61
4
  Violina
61
    Dolce Mixture, 3 ranks
183
4
  Flûte à Cheminée
61
8
  Corno Anglais
61
2
  Super Octave
61
    Tremolo  
    Cornet, 3 ranks
183
       
16
  Fagotto
61
       
8
  Cornopean
61
       
8
  Oboe
61
       
    Tremolo          
               
Choir Organ (Manual I) – 61 notes, enclosed
    East Division       West Division (Duplex Chest System)
8
  Violin Diapason
61
16
  Gamba
WSW
8
  Dulciana
61
8
  Horn Diapason
WSW
8
  Clarabella
61
8
  Dolce
EC
4
  Flute d'Amour (wood)
61
8
  Quintadena
WSW
2
  Piccolo Harmonique
61
8
  Unda Maris
EC
8
  Orchestral Oboe
61
4
  Flauto Traverso
WSW
8
  Orchestral Clarinet
61
8
  Corno Anglais
WSW
    Tremolo  
8
  Vox Humana
EC
               
Solo Organ (Manual IV) – 61 notes, enclosed with West Swell and Echo
            West Division  
       
8
  Grosse Flöte (wood)
61
       
4
  Flûte Harmonique
61
       
8
  Tuba
61
               
Echo Organ (Manual IV) – 61 notes, enclosed with West Swell and Solo
            West Division  
       
8
  Dolce
61
       
8
  Unda Maris [TC]
49
       
8
  Vox Humana
61
            Cathedral Chimes  
            Tremolo  
Pedal Organ – 32 notes ("Augmented")
    East Division       West Division  
16
  Diapason (wood)
44
32
  Diapason (wood)
44
16
  Contra Bass
44
16
  First Diapason (wood)
44
16
  Bourdon (wood)
44
16
  Second Diapason [from 32']
10 2/3
  Quint [Bourdon]
16
  Gamba
WSW
8
  Octave [1st Diap.]
16
  Gedackt (wood)
44
8
  Bourdon
10 2/3
  Quint [Gedackt]
8
  Violoncello [Contra Bass]
8
  Octave [1st Diap.]
16
  Bassoon [Fagotto]
SW
8
  Gedackt
     
16
  Trombone
32
               
Couplers (rocking tablets above top manual)
   
Swell to Pedal East Great Off East Great to Solo
Swell to Pedal 4' West Great Off West Great to Solo
Great to Pedal Great to Swell East Swell to Solo
Choir to Pedal Swell to Swell 16' West Swell to Solo
Solo to Pedal Swell to Swell 4' Echo to Solo
Solo to Pedal 4' Swell Unison Off Chimes to Solo
Chimes to Pedal East Swell Off Solo to Solo 16'
Swell to Great West Swell Off Solo to Solo 4'
Choir to Great Swell to Choir Solo Unison Off
Choir to Great 16' Echo to Choir Solo Off
Solo to Great East Choir Off Solo Off, Echo On
Chimes to Great West Choir Off  
               
Combination Thumb Pistons (Adjustable)
   
Pistons 1-2-3-4-0 East Great & Pedal
Pistons 1-2-3-0 West Great & Pedal
Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-0 East Swell & Pedal
Pistons 1-2-3-0 West Swell & Pedal
Pistons 1-2-3-4-0 East Choir & Pedal
Pistons 1-2-3-4-0 West Choir & Pedal
Pistons 1-2-3-0 Solo & Pedal
Pistons 1-2-0 Echo & Pedal
Pistons 1-2-3-4-0 Entire Organ
East Combination Release  
West Combination Release  
Pedal Release  
               
Pedal Combination Studs
   
Studs 1-2 Duplicating Nos. 1 and 4 East Great
Studs 3-4 Duplicating Nos. 1 and 5 East Swell
Stud 5 Duplicating No. 3 East Great
Stud 6 Duplicating No. 3 Solo Organ
Push Knobs 1-2-3-4-0 Operating every Stop & Coupler
East Combination Release  
West Combination Release  
General Release  
Pedal Release  
               
Balanced Pedals
    West Swell, Echo & Solo      
    East Swell Pedal      
    East Choir Pedal      
    West Crescendo      
    East Crescendo      
               
Reversible Pedals
    East On, West Off      
    West On, East Off      
    East and West On      
    Great to Pedal      
               
Locking Pedals
    Full Organ Pedal      
    Connecting all Swells to Main Swell Pedal      
               
 
Hall & Labagh organ (1855) in Madison Square Presbyterian Church, 7 Madison Avenue - New York City (photo: Wurts Bros., ca. 1900)
Organ in church located at 7 Madison Avenue:

Hall & Labagh
New York City (1855)
Mechanical action
3 manuals, 43 stops


The American Musical Directory of 1861 shows that this organ had "3 banks keys, 43 stops, 2 octaves pedals" and was "Built by Hall & Labagh, in 1855."

Specifications of this organ have not yet been located.
               
Sources:
     American Musical Directory. New York: Thomas Hutchinson, 1861.
     Hutchings-Votey Organ Company (Boston). "The Organ in the Madison Square Presbyterian Church, New York." Specifications of Hutchings-Votey organ, Op. 1550 (c.1904). Boston: Smith & Porter Press. Courtesy Larry Trupiano.
     Parkhurst, Charles Henry. "A Brief History of the Madison Square Presbyterian Church and Its Activities." New York: Irving Press, 1906. 

Illustrations:
     Dreyer, Louis H. (photographer). Madison Square Presbyterian Church, New York. "The Pageant of America" Collection / v.13 - The American spirit in architecture." NYPL Digital Gallery. Public Domain.
     Hutchings-Votey catalogue. Hutchings-Votey organ, Op. 1550 (c.1904). Organ Historical Society Archives. Courtesy Jonathan Bowen.
     Wurts Bros. (New York, N.Y.). Photo (c. 1900) of Hall & Labagh organ (1855) in original Madison Square Presbyterian Church. Collection of the Museum of the City of New York.