St. James Presbyterian Church (orig. St. Nicholas Ave. Presbyterian) - New York City
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St. James Presbyterian Church

409 West 141st Street at St. Nicholas Avenue
New York, N.Y. 10031


Organ Specifications:
409 West 141st Street at St. Nicholas Avenue (since 1927)
III/27 Estey Organ Co., Op. 3112A (1940-51)
II/25 J.H. & C.S. Odell, Op. 414 (1905)
59 West 137th Street (1915-1927)
• II/19 George Jardine & Son
359 West 51st Street (1903-1915)
• unknown
211 West 32nd Street (c.1895-1903)
• II/19 George Jardine & Son (c.1895)


St. James Presbyterian Church was founded in 1895 by members of the former Shiloh Presbyterian Church. The society's first meeting was held at the Odd Fellows Hall on West 32nd Street, and in time they moved to 211 West 32nd Street, remaining there until 1903 when they were displaced by construction of the Pennsylvania Station. From 1903-1915, the congregation made its home in the former West Fifty-first Street Presbyterian Church at 359 West 51st Street.

In 1915, St. James Presbyterian followed the northward movement of black residents and moved to Harlem, where they erected a church building at 59 West 137th Street. The society remained at this location until 1927, after which the building became home to the Rendall Memorial Presbyterian Church.

St. James moved to its present home in 1927. Located on the northwest corner of 141st Street and St. Nicholas Avenue, the church was designed by Ludlow & Valentine and built from 1904-05 for the Lenox Presbyterian Church (later known as St. Nicholas Avenue Presbyterian Church), which remained there until they merged with North Presbyterian Church on West 155th Street.

During St. James's first decades on West 141st street, it was led by the Rev. William Lloyd Imes, described by the Rev. Adam Clayton Powell Jr., as having 'the mind of a scholar, the soul of a saint, the heart of a brother, the tongue of a prophet, and the hand of a militant.' St. James is also noted for its music. Dorothy Maynor, soprano soloist and wife of the pastor, The Rev. Shelby Rooks, was an operatic soprano who was barred from a career in opera because of her race, although she was a famous recitalist. In 1964, she founded the Harlem School of the Arts in the basement of St. James, teaching piano to a dozen children. The school is now housed in a building north of the church and attracts about 3000 students annually.
           
  Estey Organ, Op. 3112A at St. James Presbyterian Church - New York City (photo: Dave Schmauch)
   
Estey Organ Company
Brattleboro, Vt.– Opus 3112A (1940-51); inst. (c.1957)
Electro-pneumatic action
3 manuals, 36 stops, 27 ranks


The organ in St. James Church was originally built in 1940 by the Estey Organ Company for Christ Episcopal Church, Short Hills, N.J. Estey altered the organ (as Op. 3112A) in 1951. This organ was moved to St. James about 1957. The following stoplist is from the Estey Organ Museum web site. Pipecounts were not given but are suggested, based on other Estey organs from that era.
               
Great Organ (Manual II) – 61 notes
16
  Contra Gemshorn [unit]
97
4
  Octave
73
8
  Open Diapason
73
4
  Gemshorn [ext.]
8
  Gemshorn [ext.]
2 2/3
  Twelfth
61
8
  Melodia
73
2
  Fifteenth
61
4
  Harmonic Flute
73
     

     

     
Swell Organ (Manual III) – 61 notes, enclosed
16
  Bourdon [unit]
97
4
  Flute [ext.]
8
  Open Diapason
73
2
  Flautino [ext.]
8
  Stopped Diapason [ext.]
  Mixture III ranks [15-19-22]
183
8
  Salicional
73
8
  Oboe
73
8
  Aeoline
73
8
  Trumpet
73
8
  Voix Celeste [TC]
61
  Tremolo
4
  Principal
73
       
               
Choir Organ (Manual I) – 61 notes, enclosed
8
  Gamba
73
4
  Traverse Flute
73
8
  Dulciana
73
8
  Clarinet
73
8
  Unda Maris [TC]
61
  Tremolo
8
  Quintadena
73
       

     

     
Pedal Organ – 32 notes
16
  Open Diapason
32
8
  Stopped Flute
SW
16
  Bourdon
32
8
  Gemshorn
GT
16
  Lieblichgedeckt
32
4
  Gemshorn
GT
16
  Gemshorn
GT
16
  Contra Fagotto [ext. SW]
12
8
  Open Diapason
SW
   
               
Couplers
    Great to Pedal 8', 4'   Great to Great 16', 4'
    Swell to Pedal 8', 4'   Swell to Swell 16', 4'
    Choir to Pedal 8', 4'   Choir to Choir 16', 4'
    Swell to Great 16', 8', 4'   Great Unison Off
    Choir to Great 16', 8', 4'   Swell Unison Off
    Swell to Choir 16', 8', 4'   Choir Unison Off
               
Adjustable Combinations
   
Great Organ & intra-man. coup. Pistons 1-2-3-4-5 Toe Studs 1-2
Swell Organ & intra-man. coup. Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-6 Toe Studs 1-2
Choir Organ & intra-man. coup. Pistons 1-2-3 Toe Studs 1-2
Pedal Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5 Toe Studs 1-2-3
All stops and couplers Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-6-7 Toe Studs 1-2-3
  Piston 0 (Gen. Cancel)  
               
Reversibles
    Great to Pedal   Choir to Pedal
    Swell to Pedal   Sforzando
               
Expression
    Balanced Pedal – Swell Organ      
    Balanced Pedal – Choir Organ      
    Balanced Pedal – Crescendo      
               
Accessories
    Wind Indicator   Console Light
    Crescendo Indicator   Pedal Lights
    Sforzando Indicator   Clock
    Bench   Motor
    Music Rack   Blower
    Mirror   Chimes (20 tubes)
         
Estey Organ, Op. 3112A at St. James Presbyterian Church - New York City (photo: Dave Schmauch)   Estey Organ, Op. 3112A at St. James Presbyterian Church - New York City (photo: Dave Schmauch)   Estey Organ, Op. 3112A at St. James Presbyterian Church - New York City (photo: Dave Schmauch)
         
    Estey Organ, Op. 3112A at St. James Presbyterian Church - New York City (photo: Dave Schmauch)   left: The Chimes are played by push buttons corresponding to the black & white notes of a keyboard.
           
J.H. & C.S. Odell
New York City – Opus 414 (1905)
Tubular-pneumatic action
2 manuals, 23 stops, 25 ranks


The original organ in the present sanctuary was built in 1905 by J.H. & C.S. Odell of New York City.
               
Great Organ (Manual I) – 61 notes
8
  Open Diapason
61
4
  Flute Harmonique
61
8
  Gamba
61
4
  Octave
61
8
  Dulciana
61
2
  Super Octave
61
8
  Melodia
61
8
  Trumpet
61

     

     
Swell Organ (Manual II) – 61 notes, enclosed
16
  Bourdon Bass   }
61
4
  Rohr Flote
61
16
  Bourdon Treble }
4
  Violina
61
8
  Open Diapason
61
2
  Piccolo
61
8
  Salicional
61
    Dolce Cornet III ranks
183
8
  Vox Celestis
61
8
  Vox Humana
61
8
  Aeoline
61
8
  Oboe
61
8
  Stopped Diapason
61
       

     

     
Pedal Organ – 30 notes
16
  Open Diapason
30
8
  Bass Flute
30
16
  Bourdon
30
       
               
Couplers
    Great to Pedal       Swell to Great 16', 8', 4'  
    Swell to Pedal       Swell to Swell 4'  
    Pedal to Pedal Octaves       Great to Great 4'  
               
Piston Combination Movements (Adjustable)
    Great Organ Forte       Swell Organ Forte  
    Great Organ Mezzo       Swell Organ Mezzo  
    Great Organ Piano       Swell Organ Piano  
               
Pedal Movements
    Grand Crescendo Pedal       Balanced Swell Pedal  
    Pedal Organ Forte       Great to Pedal Reversible  
    Pedal Organ Piano          
           
Organ in church at 59 West 137th Street:

George Jardine & Son
New York City
Mechanical action
2 manuals, 19 stops


The Correspondence Book kept by J.H. & C.S. Odell shows that in 1915 the organ in the 137th Street church building was by George Jardine & Son and had two manuals and 19 stops (Great 9, Swell 9, Pedal 1). It may be that this organ was moved from the church on West 32nd Street. Specifications of this organ have not yet been located.
           
Organ in original church at 211 West 32nd Street:

George Jardine & Son
New York City (c.1895)
Mechanical action
2 manuals, 19 stops


The original church had an organ built by George Jardine & Son of New York City. It seems likely that the organ was installed when the building was opened c.1895. Specifications of this organ have not yet been located.
           
Sources:
     Adams, Michael Henry. Harlem Lost and Found: An Architectural and Social History, 1765-1915. New York: Monacelli Press, 2002.
     Dolkart, Andrew S. and Gretchen S. Sorin. Touring Historic Harlem: Four Walks in Northern Manhattan. New York: New York Landmarks Conservancy, 1997.
     Dunlap, David W. From Abyssinian to Zion: A Guide to Manhattan's Houses of Worship. New York: Columbia University Press, 2004.
     The Estey Pipe Organ web site: http://www.esteyorgan.com. Stoplist of Estey organ, Op. 3112A (1940-51).
     Hickman, Cynthia. Harlem Churches at the End of the 20th Century. New York: Dunbar Press, 2001.
     Stimmel, Phil. Factory Shop Order (Aug. 25, 1940) for Estey Organ, Op. 3112 (1940).
     Trupiano, Larry. Item (1915) in J.H. & C.S. Odell Correspondence Book regarding Jardine organ in 137th Street church building.
     Trupiano, Larry. Factory Specifications of J.H. & C.S. Odell organ, Op. 414 (1905).

Illustrations:
     Schmauch, Dave. Interior; Estey Organ, Op. 3112A.