Old St. Patrick's Cathedral - New York City
Click on images to enlarge
Basilica of Old St. Patrick's Cathedral
(Roman Catholic)

260 Mulberry Street
New York, N.Y. 10012
http://www.oldsaintpatricks.com

Organ Specifications:
260 Mulberry Street
Rebuilt building (since 1868)
III/46 Henry Erben (1866-68)
First building (1809-burned 1866):
• III/42 Henry Erben (1852)
• III/ Hall & Erben (1824)
• Thomas Hall (1820); enl. Redstone organ
• I/ William Redstone (1815)

See also St. Patrick's Cathedral.


Engraving of Old St. Patrick's Cathedral - New York City

 
The original St. Patrick's Cathedral, located on Mulberry Street between Prince and Houston Streets, was built on land used as the cemetery of St. Peter's Church. On June 8, 1809, the cornerstone was laid, and the completed structure was dedicated six years later, on May 14,1815. Designed by Joseph-François Mangin, the architect also responsible for New York City Hall, the stone structure is over 120 feet long by 80 feet wide with side walls rising to a height of 75 feet. In its early years, St. Patrick's played vital social and political roles in the lives of young Irish immigrants, helping them adapt to their new home. The cathedral was the site of tension between nativist agitators and Irish Catholics. In 1836 a mob attempted to ransack the cathedral, but defenders cut holes in the wall for their muskets and posted sentries outside, successfully discouraging damage to the cathedral.

  Old St. Patrick's Cathedral - New York City
Although the cathedral was then the largest religious structure in the city, Archbishop John J. Hughes envisioned a new and grander cathedral uptown, to serve as a "public architectural monument of the present and prospective greatness of this metropolis." Land for a new cathedral on Fifth Avenue and 50th Street was purchased in 1852 and construction started in 1859. In 1866, the cathedral and organ were partially destroyed by fire. Before the new cathedral could be completed, the original cathedral was restored and rededicated by John Cardinal McClosky in 1868.

On May 25, 1879, the original cathedral ceased to be the seat of the Archdiocese of New York and became a parish church known as "Old St. Patrick's Cathedral."

In 1966, St. Patrick's Old Cathedral was one of the first sites to be named a landmark by the New York City Landmarks Commission. In 1977, St. Patrick's Old Cathedral and the Old Cathedral School were listed on the National Registry of Historic Landmarks.

On March 17, 2010, Old St. Patrick's Cathedral was declared a minor basilica by Pope Benedict XVI.
           
 

1868 Erben Organ at Old St. Patrick's Cathedral - New York City

Henry Erben
New York City (1868)
Mechanical action
3 manuals, 40 stops, 46 ranks







The organ in Old St. Patrick's Cathedral was built from 1866-68 by Henry Erben of New York City. Erben installed the organ in a Carpenter Gothic-style case of black walnut. The console is attached and projecting, with overhanging manuals flanked by round-shanked stop-knobs arranged horizontally in terraced jambs. Fortunately, little work was ever done on the instrument. Most of the work that was done on the organ was not up to Erben standards: a few of the original ivory stop labels were replaced with cheap plastic; ciphers were fixed with duct tape; and the materials and construction of the replacement mixture were not consistent with Erben’s extraordinarily high level of craftsmanship. Neglect has been this organ’s friend—not much has been done to it, and it is an exceptional survivor from that age. This organ is the only example of an original, extant three-manual Erben, and is a jewel of organbuilding in New York City.

On October 24, 2004, the Organ Historical Society awarded its distinguished Historical Citation No. 326 in recognition of the Erben Organ as an outstanding example of organbuilding and worthy of preservation.
               
Great Organ (Manual II) – 58 notes
16
  Grand Open Diapason
58
2 2/3
  Twelfth
58
8
  Open Diapason
58
2
  Fifteenth
58
8
  Gamba *
58
    Mixture III ranks **
174
8
  Melodia
58
    Sesquialtera III ranks
174
8
  Stopd. Diapason
58
8
  Trumpet
58
4
  Principal
58
4
  Clarion
58
4
  Wald Flute
58
       

             
Swell Organ (Manual III) – 58 notes, enclosed
16
  Bourdon
58
4
  Flute Harmonique
58
8
  Open Diapason
58
2
  Piccolo
58
8
  Stop. Diapason
58
    Cornet III ranks
174
8
  Dulciana
58
8
  Cornopean
58
8
  Viol d'Amour [1-12 Dulciana]
46
8
  Oboe
58
4
  Principal
58
       
               
Choir Organ (Manual I) – 58 notes
8
  Pyramid Diapason [1-12 Mel.]
46
4
  Flute Traverso
58
8
  Dolce
58
2
  Flageolet
58
8
  Keraulophon [1-12 Dolce]
46
8
  Cremona [TC] ++
46
8
  Stop. Diapason
58
8
  Bassoon [bass]
12
8
  Melodia
58
    Tremulant #  
4
  Principal +
58
       
               
Pedal Organ – 30 notes [CC-f]
16
  Double Open Diapason
30
 
*
  Modern replacement
**
  Replaced 1878 by 4' Flute
+
  Knob marked "Flautina"
++
  Knob marked "Clarinet"
#
  Not original
16
  Bourdon
30
 
16
  Contra Gamba
30
 
8
  Violon Cello
30
 
4
  Claribel Flute
30
 
16
  Trombone
30
 
               
Couplers
    Great to Pedal       Swell to Great  
    Swell to Pedal       Choir to Great  
    Choir to Pedal       Swell to Choir  
    Pedal to Pedal 8ves          
               
Pedal Movements
    Swell Piano       Great to Pedal Reversible  
    Swell Forte       Swell Crescendo Lever  
    Great Piano          
    Great Mezzo          
    Great Forte          
               

1868 Erben Organ at Old St. Patrick's Cathedral - New York City

 

1868 Erben Organ at Old St. Patrick's Cathedral - New York City

           
Henry Erben
New York City (1852)
Mechanical action
3 manuals, 42 stops, 2 octaves pedals


In 1851, Henry Erben was contracted to build a new organ for St. Patrick's Cathedral that had "3 banks keys, 42 stops, 2 octaves pedals." During the afternoon and evening of June 24, 1852, the completed organ was exhibited to the public. Participating at four o'clock were organists David R. Harrison, St. Patrick's Cathedral; Wm. Bergé, St. Xavier Church; John Loretz, St. Stephen's Church; Mr. Mayerhofer, Nativity Church; Mr. O'Connor, St. Bridget's Church; T. Stückler, St. James's Church; T. Augustus Hogan, St. Peter's Church; Wm. R. Bristow, St. Mark's church; and H.C. Griffiths, St. Paul's, London. At eight o'clock that evening, Mr. W. A. King of Grace Church performed works by Kuhlau, Rinck, Mendelssohn ("Wedding March"), and concluded with an "Extemporaneous Fantasie" on various themes to demonstrate the solo stops.

The organ was described in the Musical World and New York Musical Times (July 1, 1852):
Its measurement is 45 feet high, 28 feet wide, and 14 feet deep, and it contains over 2000 pipes. The diapasons are hardly full enough for so large a church, but the reeds and their stops are brilliant. A church as large as St. Patrick's would have borne pedals and diapasons of the largest and most full-voiced capacity; and no number of brilliant stops can possible make up for the deficiency."
In 1866, the cathedral interior and organ were destroyed by fire.

Specifications of this organ have not yet been located.
           
Hall & Erben
New York City (1824)
Mechanical action
3 manuals


A new three-manual organ was built in 1824 by Hall & Erben, a partnership of Thomas S. Hall and Henry Erben that existed from 1824-1847. Thomas Hall had married Maria Erben, Henry's sister, in 1824. Specifications of this organ have not yet been located.
         
Thomas Hall
New York City (1820)
Mechanical action


In 1820, Thomas S. Hall (1794-1874) of New York City altered and enlarged the 1815 Redstone organ. Specifications of this organ have not yet been located.
         
William Redstone
New York City (1815)
Mechanical action
1 manual


The first known organ for St. Patrick's Cathedral was a one-manual instrument built in 1815 by William Redstone (c.1768-1824) of New York City. Specifications of this organ have not yet been located.
           
Sources:
     American Musical Directory. New York: Thomas Hutchinson, 1861.
     Dunlap, David W. From Abyssinian to Zion: A Guide to Manhattan's Houses of Worship. New York: Columbia University Press, 2004.
     Fox, David H. A Guide to North American Organbuilders (Rev. ed.). Richmond: The Organ Historical Society, 1997.
     Musical World and New York Musical Times (July 1, 1852). Exhibition of Henry Erben organ.
     Ogasapian, John. Organ Building in New York City: 1700-1900. Braintree: The Organ Literature Foundation, 1977.
     Organ Historical Society web site: http://www.organsociety.org

Illustrations:
     Lawson, Steven E. Exterior; interior; Henry Erben organ.