Mother Zion A.M.E. Church - New York City (photo: Steven E. Lawson)
 
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Mother A.M.E. Zion Church

146 West 137th Street
New York, N.Y. 10030


Organ Specifications:
140 West 137th Street (since 1925)
IV/55 Wicks Organ Company, Op. 5565 (1976)
III/31 M.P. Möller, Op. 4206 (1925)
151 West 136th Street (1914-1925)
I/3 Hilborne L. Roosevelt, Op. 58 (1880)
• II/20 George Jardine & Son (1858)
127 West 89th Street (1904-1914)
• II/16 William H. Davis & Son (1904)
Corner Bleecker and West 10th Streets (1864-1904)
• II/22 Davis & Ferris (1846)
Church Street (1800-1864)
• unknown, if any


Mother A.M.E. Zion Church - Bleecker & W. 10th St., New York City  
Bleecker & West 10th Streets  
Mother A.M.E. Zion is the oldest black church in the U.S., founded in 1796 by celebrated African-American residents of New York City. From 1800-1864 the congregation worshiped on Church Street.

In 1864, the congregation moved to a frame building on the corner of Bleecker and West 10th Streets, where church was known as a "freedom church," a safe stop for slaves traveling along the Underground Railway.

  Mother A.M.E. Zion Church - New York City (Wurts Bros., 1925)
  Wurts Bros. (1925)
The present Neo-Gothic building (1923-25) was designed by George W. Foster, Jr., one of the first black architects to be registered in the U.S. Continuing a legacy of liberation theology, the congregation is committed to caring for the less fortunate members of the community. Today their members are politically active, working to ensure awareness of civil rights for all.
           
 

Wicks Organ, Op. 5565 (1976) in the Mother A.M.E. Zion Church - New York City (photo: Steven E. Lawson)

Wicks Organ Company
Highland, Ill. – Opus 5565 (1976)
Electric stop and combination action
4 manuals, 70 stops, 55 ranks
 
The stoplist of the Wicks organ at Mother AME Zion Church was a collaboration between organist Solomon Herriot and Allan J. Ontko. Layout and scaling were designed by Mr. Ontko, who, along with Guy Henderson, installed and tonally finished the organ. Jack Steinkampf voiced the Trompette de Fete, a horizontal reed located in the gallery.
               
Great Organ (Manual II) – 61 notes
16
  Montre
61
1 1/3
  Mixture IV-V ranks
293
8
  Principal
61
16
  Basson
SW
8
  Kleinprincipal
61
8
  Trompete [unit]
73
8
  Rohrgedeckt
61
4
  Klarine
4
  Octave
61
    Tremolo  
4
  Principal
61
8
  Trompette de Fête
ANT
4
  Spielflöte [unit]
73
   
Chimes
25 tubes
2
  Octave
61
    Unison Off  
2
  Spielpfeife
       

     

     
Swell Organ (Manual III) – 61 notes, enclosed
8
  Koppelflöte *
61
16
  Basson [unit]
73
8
  Gambe
61
8
  Trompette [unit]
73
8
  Voix Celeste
61
8
  Hautbois
4
  Principal [unit]
73
8
  Voix Humaine
61
4
  Holztraverse * [unit]
73
4
  Clairon
2 2/3
  Nasat *
61
    Tremolo  
2
  Octave
8
  Trompette de Fête
ANT
2
  Octavin *
   
Harp [TC]
49 bars
1 3/5
  Terz *
61
    Celesta

  Cornet V ranks
    Swell 16'  
         [collective, draws * stops]       Unison Off  
1/3
  Cimbel IV ranks
244
    Swell 4'  

     

     
Positive Organ (Manual I) – 61 notes, enclosed
16
  Bourdon [unit]
73
1
  Blockflöte
8
  Principal
61
1/2
  Scharf III-IV ranks
232
8
  Holzgedeckt
8
  Cromhorne
61
8
  Erzähler
61
    Tremolo  
8
  Unda Maris [TC]
49
8
  Trompette de Fête
ANT
4
  Octave [unit]
73
    Celesta
CH
4
  Rohrflöte [unit]
73
 
  Chimes
GT
2
  Weitoctave
    Positive 16'  
2
  Rohrpfeife

  Unison Off  
1 1/3
  Klein Nasard
    Positive 4'  

     

     
Antiphonal Organ (Manual IV) – 61 notes
8
  Bourdon [unit]
73
1
  Fourniture III-V ranks
269
4
  Prestant [unit]
73
8
  Trompette de Fête [unit]
61
4
  Doppelflöte
4
  Clairon de Fête
2
  Doublette

     

     

     
Pedal Organ – 32 notes
32
  Gross Untersatz [unit]
56
4
  Gedacktflöte
PO
16
  Holzprincipal
32
2
  Mixtur IV ranks
128
16
  Principal (metal) [unit]
56
32
  Bombarde
56
16
  Subbass
16
  Bombarde
16
  Bourdon
PO
16
  Basson
SW
10 2/3
  Bourdon
PO
8
  Trompette
8
  Octave
8
  Trompete de Fête
ANT
8
  Pommer
4
  Clairon
8
  Holzgedeckt
PO
4
  Cromhorne
PO
4
  Choralbass
     
               
Couplers
    Great to Pedal 8'   Antiphonal to Great 8'
    Swell to Pedal 8', 4'   Pedal to Great 8'
    Positive to Pedal 8', 4'   Antiphonal to Swell 8'
    Antiphonal to Pedal 8'   Great to Positive 8'
    Swell to Great 16', 8', 4'   Swell to Positive 16', 8', 4'
    Positive to Great 16', 8', 4'    
             
Adjustable Combinations
   
Antiphonal Organ Pistons 1-2-3 (thumb)
Swell Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5 (thumb)
Great Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5 (thumb)
Positive Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5 (thumb)
Pedal Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5 (thumb)
Full Organ Pistons A-B-C-D-E-F-G-H (thumb & toe)
               
Reversibles
    Great to Pedal (thumb & toe)   Swell to Great (thumb & toe)
    Swell to Pedal (thumb & toe)   Tutti (thumb & toe)
    Positive to Pedal (thumb & toe)   32' Untersatz (toe)
    Antiphonal to Pedal (thumb & toe)   32' Bombarde (toe)
               
Accessories
    Balanced Swell Expression Pedal   Tutti Indicator Light
    Balanced Positive Expression Pedal   Crescendo Indicator (six lights)
    Balanced Crescendo Pedal   Chancel Wind Indicator Light
    Orchestral Crescendo (tablet)   Antiphonal Wind Indicator Light
    Combination Lock   Orchestral Crescendo Ind. Light
         
Console of Wicks Organ, Op. 5565 (1976) in the Mother A.M.E. Zion Church - New York City (photo: Steven E. Lawson)
  Console of Wicks Organ, Op. 5565 (1976) in the Mother A.M.E. Zion Church - New York City (photo: Mother A.M.E. Zion Church)  
Console of Wicks Organ, Op. 5565 (1976) in the Mother A.M.E. Zion Church - New York City (photo: Steven E. Lawson)

Console of Wicks Organ, Op. 5565 (1976) in the Mother A.M.E. Zion Church - New York City (photo: Mother A.M.E. Zion Church)
  Console of Wicks Organ, Op. 5565 (1976) in the Mother A.M.E. Zion Church - New York City (photo: Mother A.M.E. Zion Church)

  Rear Gallery showing Trompete de Fete of Wicks Organ, Op. 5565 (1976) in the Mother A.M.E. Zion Church - New York City (photo: Steven E. Lawson)
           
First organ in present church building:

M. P. Möller, Inc.
Hagerstown, Md. – Opus 4206 (1925)
Electro-pneumatic action
3 manuals, 65 registers, 45 stops, 31 ranks


The original organ in the present Mother A.M.E. Zion Church was built by the M.P. Möller Company. Pipecounts shown on the following specification are suggested, based on similar Möller organs of the era.
               
Great Organ (Manual II) – 61 notes, enclosed with Choir
16
  Double Open Diapason
73
8
  Gemshorn
73
8
  First Open Diapason
73
4
  Flute Harmonique
73
8
  Second Open Diapason
73
4
  Octave
73
8
  Doppel Flute
73
8
  Tuba
73
8
  Clarabella
73
   
Chimes
25 tubes

     

     
Swell Organ (Manual III) – 61 notes, enclosed
16
  Bourdon [unit]
85
2 2/3
  Quint
8
  Open Diapason
73
2
  Fifteenth
8
  Viole d'Orchestre
73
1 3/5
  Tiercena
8
  Vox Celeste [TC]
61
  Mixture III ranks
183
8
  Salicional [unit]
85
8
  Cornopean
73
8
  Flauto Traverso
73
8
  Oboe
73
8
  Gedeckt
8
  Vox Humana
61
8
  Aeoline
73
 
  Tremulant
4
  Orchestral Flute
73
 
 
Harp [TC]
49 bars
4
  Salicet
     

     

     
Choir Organ(Manual I) – 61 notes, enclosed
8
  English Open Diapason
73
8
  Dulciana
73
8
  Viole da Gamba
73
4
  Dulcet
8
  Doppel Flute
GT
4
  Flute
8
  Melodia
73
8
  Tuba
GT
8
  Gemshorn
GT
8
  Clarinet
73
8
  Gemshorn Celeste
61
 
  Tremulant  

     

     
Pedal Organ – 32 notes
16
  Open Diapason
44
8
  Octave [Op. Diap.]
16
  Small Diapason
GT
8
  Violoncello
CH
16
  Bourdon
44
8
  Flute [ext.]
16
  Lieblich Gedeckt
SW
16
  Tuba [ext. GT]
12
               
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', 4'   Great 16', 4', Unison Off
    Swell to Great 16', 8', 4'   Swell 16', 4', Unison Off
    Choir to Great 16', 8', 4'   Choir 16', 4', Unison Off
               
Adjustable Combinations
   
Swell Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-0
Great Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-0
Choir Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-0
Pedal Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-0
Full Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4
               
Pedal Movements
    Balanced Expression Pedal, Swell Organ
    Balanced Expression Pedal, Great-Choir Organs
    Grand Crescendo Pedal    
    Great to Pedal Reversible    
    Sforzando Pedal    
         
Known organ in church located at 151 West 136th Street:

Hilborne L. Roosevelt
New York City – Opus 58 (1880)
Mechanical action
1 manual, 3 stops


Although the exact specifications of this organ have not been located, it seems likely that the instrument was one of Roosevelt's two stock models — "Style Two" or "Style Three" — that had one manual and three stops. Both models had an 8' Open Diapason and 8' Dulciana with 58 notes, plus a 13-note 16' Bourdon Bass. "Style Three" differed from "Style Two" in that the Open Diapason and Dulciana were divided stops with 29 notes in the Treble, and 29 notes in the Bass. Both styles were 7'6" wide, 3' deep (3'4" for the Style Three), and 12' in height.

Following is the specification of a "Style Three."
               
Manual – 58 notes, enclosed
8
  Open Diapason, Treble [TF]
29
       
8
  Open Diapason, Bass
29
       
8
  Dulciana, Treble [TF]
29
       
8
  Dulciana, Bass
29
       
16
  Bourdon, Bass
13

     
               
Pedal – 13 notes
    No stops; by coupler only          

     

     
Couplers
    Manual Octaves          
    Manual to Pedal          
               
Mechanical Accessories
    Tremulant          
    Bellow's Signal          
               
Pedal Movement
    Balanced Swell Pedal
           
Known organ in church located at 151 West 136th Street:

George Jardine & Son
New York City (1858)
Mechanical action
2 manuals, 20 stops


Specifications for this organ have not yet been located.
           
Known organ in church located at 127 West 89th Street:

William H. Davis & Son
New York City (1904)
Tubular-pneumatic action
2 manuals, 16 stops


Specifications for this organ have not yet been located.
           
Known organ in church located on Bleecker Street:

Davis & F
New York City (1846)
Mechanical action
2 manuals, 22 stops


Specifications for this organ have not yet been located.
           
Sources:
     Organ Historical Society American Organ Archives, Princeton, N.J. Specification for M.P. Möller Organ, Op. 4206 (1925). Courtesy Jonathan Bowen.
     Dunlap, David W. From Abyssinian to Zion: A Guide to Manhattan's Houses of Worship. New York: Columbia University Press, 2004.
     "Hilborne L. Roosevelt, Manufacturer of Church, Chapel, Concert and Chamber Organs," catalog pub. by Roosevelt Organ Works (Dec. 1888); republished by The Organ Literature Foundation, Braintree, Mass., 1978.
     Mother A.M.E. Zion Church. Archival information and photos. Courtesy the Rev. Dr. Gregory Robeson Smith, Senior Pastor.
     Nelson, George. Organs in the United States and Canada Database. Seattle, Wash.
     Wicks Organ Company web site: http://organ.wicks.com/

Illustration:
     Lawson, Steven E. Interior and exterior; Wicks Organ, Op. 5565 (1976).
     Mother A.M.E. Zion Church. Manuals, pedalboard, view from left of Wicks Organ, Op. 5565 (1976).
     New York Public Library. A.M.E. Zion Church on Bleecker and West 10th Streets.
     Wurts Bros. (New York, N.Y.). Exterior (1925). Collection of the Museum of the City of New York.