St. Mary Episcopal Church - (Manhattanville, Harlem), New York City

 

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St. Mary's Church – Manhattanville
(Episcopal)

521 West 126th Street
New York, N.Y. 10027
http://stmarysharlem.org

Organ Specifications:
Present building (since 1909):
II/22 McGregor/Scott-Walker (1965)
II/10 M. P. Möller, Op. 4935 (1927)
I/8 George Jardine & Son (<1891); reb. by Odell (c.1909)
First building (1826-1909):
I/8 George Jardine & Son (<1891)




Original edifice (1826-1909) of St. Mary Episcopal Church - (Manhattanville, Harlem), New York City

 
St. Mary's Church of Manhattanville dates back to the early 19th century when Manhattanville was a town. Long ago absorbed by New York City, the area known today as Manhattanville is bordered on the south by Morningside Heights, on the west by the Hudson River, on the east by Harlem and on the north by Hamilton Heights. The earliest known reference to Manhattanville is an advertisement in the New York Spectator of July 9, 1806, which told of its formation "in the Ninth Ward of this city, on the Bloomingdale road in front of Harlem Cove on the North River." In 1807 the New York Gazette and General Advertiser described Manhattanville as "a flourishing little town ... about eight miles from the City Hall.'" The account continued, "It was first projected and laid out into streets about twelve months ago by Mr. Schieffelin and others, since which an academy was erected." Residents had to travel great distances via coach or ferry to attend religious services at the nearest church, and in December, 1823, St. Mary's Protestant Episcopal Church was organized.

The original St. Mary's Church was built from 1824-26 on land donated by Jacob Schieffelin, who founded Manhattanville and was its shipper, merchant and druggist. Robert Oughton, a respected carpenter and framer, built a simple wooden structure with a short steeple. Oughton later built the adjoining rectory in 1851. Laura Dayton Fessenden wrote the following description of St. Mary's Church in Valentines of Old New York (1923):
"St. Mary's was white and severely plain on the outside and square and bare within. The altar was unlike those one sees today, in fact, it looked more like an old-fashioned parlor with its table, horsehair sofa and chairs. The communion table was near the altar rail and, of course, there was a reading desk, and our pulpit had a winding stair that led up to it, and there was a top over the pulpit [a sounding board] that looked like an opened motherly umbrella, but this pulpit was not used in 1867. Our rector, who had served the parish for many years, had rheumatism and did not like the climb."
Manhattanville was inhabited by residents who were mainly poor. When St. Mary's Church was organized, the Vestry also established a free school. In 1831, St. Mary's was the first church in the city to abolish pew rentals.

St. Mary's Church burned at the turn of the 20th century, but was quickly replaced with the present neo-Gothic structure built from 1908-09. Theodore E. Blake, in association with Carrère & Hastings, designed the modest building of herringbone brickwork trimmed with concrete. The gabled-roof porch contains a bell that was presented to St. Mary's by Jacob Schieffelin.

In 1998, the New York City Landmarks Commission designated as a landmark the church, its adjacent clapboard-covered parish house (originally the rectory), the brick Sunday School, and a garden.
         
 

St. Mary Episcopal Church - (Manhattanville, Harlem), New York City

James McGregor & Richard Scott-Walker
New York City (1965)
Electro-pneumatic action
2 manuals, 18 stops, 22 ranks




The present organ dates from 1965 when James McGregor and Richard Scott-Walker rebuilt the existing organ built in 1927 by M.P. Möller. McGregor and Scott-Walker retained three stops from the old Möller organ, and added new ranks by Stinkens of Germany. Several stops were recycled from the 1912 Austin organ (Op. 447) recently removed from the Church of the Intercession, and the 1837 Henry Erben organ in St. Peter's Church in Chelsea.
               
Great Organ (Manual I) – 61 notes
8
  Principal
61
2
  Octave
61
4
  Octave
61
  Mixture III ranks
183
4
  Rohr Flöte
61
8
  Trumpet
61

     

     
Positiv Organ (Manual II) – 61 notes, enclosed
8
  Gedackt *
61
1 1/3
  Larigot
61
8
  Dulciana *
61
  Sesquialtera II ranks
110
4
  Gemshorn
61
  Mixture III ranks
183
2
  Super Octave
61
8
  Krumhorn
61

     

     
Pedal Organ – 32 notes
16
  Bourdon *
44
8
  Gedackt [ext.]
8
  Principal
32
16
  Faggot
32
           
* from M.P. Möller, Op. 4935 (1927)
Mechanicals
    Tremulant          
           
M.P. Möller, Inc.
Hagerstown, Md. – Opus 4935 (1927)
Electro-pneumatic action
2 manuals, 30 registers, 10 ranks



In 1927, the M.P. Möller company installed a new organ with electro-pneumatic action. The two expression boxes were hidden behind a pipe screen in the chancel, and Möller installed a grill in the "opening facing auditorium in space left at removal of present console." The two-manual stop-key console was detached, and the entire organ was on 7" wind pressure.
               
Great Organ (Manual I) – 61 notes, enclosed
8
  Open Diapason
61
4
  Flute [ext. Melodia]
8
  Melodia
73
4
  Octave [from SW Op. Diap.]
SW
8
  Viole d'Orchestre
73
8
  French Trumpet
61
8
  Dulciana
73
    Tremulant  

     

     
Swell Organ (Manual II) – 61 notes, enclosed
8
  Open Diapason
73
8
  Dulciana
GT
8
  Viole d'Orchestre
GT
4
  Flute [ext. Stopped Diapason]
8
  Vox Celeste [TC]
61
8
  Oboe
73
8
  Stopped Diapason
73
    Tremulant  

     

     
Pedal Organ – 32 notes
16
  Bourdon [large scale]
44
8
  Flute [ext. Bourdon]
16
  Lieblich Gedeckt [ext. SW]
12
       
               
Couplers
    Great to Pedal       Swell 16', 4', Unison Separation
    Swell to Pedal       Great 16', 4'
    Swell to Great 16', 8', 4'          
               
Mechanicals
    Crescendo Indicator          
               
Pedal Movements
    Balanced Expression Pedal, Swell Organ   Great to Pedal Reversible
    Balanced Expression Pedal, Great Organ   Sforzando Pedal  
    Grand Crescendo Pedal      
           
  Specifications of Geo. Jardine & Son organ (<1891) in original St. Mary Episcopal Church - (Manhattanville, Harlem), New York City (Louis F. Mohr file)  

Geo. Jardine & Son organ (<1891) in St. Mary's Episcopal Church - New York City (photo: Wurts Bros, New York)

  Notes by Louis F. Mohr & Co.  
Wurts Bros. photo (c.1910)
George Jardine & Son
New York City (< 1891)
reb. J.H. & C.S. Odell (c.1909)
Mechanical action
1 manual, 8 stops, 8 ranks












The first organ in the present church was moved from the previous building by J.H. & C.S. Odell Company of New York City. Specifications for this organ were recorded (Nov. 1923) by Louis F. Mohr & Co., an organ service concern in the area. Mohr's drawing and notes (click on image above) show that the swell shades and front pipes were shifted, and the console was recessed under the chest. Manual and pedal compasses suggested below are based on similar one-manual Jardine organs of the 19th century.

Although the J.H. & C.S. Odell opus list includes an organ for St. Mary's Church, it seems likely that the Odells simply moved the old Jardine organ and added an electric motor.
               
Manual – 58 notes?, enclosed
8
  Open Diapason
56
8
  Clariana
56
8
  Viola [TC]
44
4
  Violina
56
8
  Stopped Diapason Bass
12
2
  Piccolo
56
8
  Clarinet Flute [TC]
44
8
  Oboe Gamba [TC]
44

     

     
Pedal Organ – 25 notes?, unenclosed
16
  Bourdon
25
       
               
Mechanicals
    Manual to Pedal coupler       Tremolo  
           
 

Geo. Jardine & Son organ (<1891) in original St. Mary Episcopal Church - (Manhattanville) New York City (Episcopal Diocese of New York rchives)

Organ in original church:

George Jardine & Son
New York City (<1891)
Mechanical action
1 manual, 8 stops, 8 ranks





The first known organ for the original St. Mary's Church was built by Geo. Jardine & Son of New York. An exact date for this organ has not been determined. The specifications for this organ were probably very similar or identical to those given above, as recorded (Nov. 1923) by Louis F. Mohr & Co., an organ service firm in the area
           
Sources:
     Adams, Michael Henry. Harlem Lost and Found: An Architectural and Social History, 1765-1915. New York: Monacelli Press, 2002.
     Dolkart, Andrew S. and Matthew A. Postal. Guide to New York City Landmarks (Third Edition). New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 2004.
     Dunlap, David W. From Abyssinian to Zion: A Guide to Manhattan's Houses of Worship. New York: Columbia University Press, 2004.
     Episcopal Diocese of New York Archives; Wayne Kempton, archivist.
     Mohr, Louis F. Specification (Nov. 1923) of George Jardine & Son organ (<1891) as rebuilt by J.H. & C.S. Odell (c.1909). Courtesy Larry Trupiano.
     Nelson, George. Organs in the United States and Canada Database. Seattle, Wash.
     Schmauch, David. Specifications of McGregor/Scott-Walker organ (1965).
     St. Mary's Episcopal Church web site: http://stmarysharlem.org
     Trupiano, Larry. Factory Specifications of M.P. Möller organ, Op. 4935 (1927).

Illustrations:
     Episcopal Diocese of New York Archives. Interior (c.1908) of old St. Mary's Church.
     Forgotten New York Neighbordhoods web site: http://www.forgotten-ny.com. Color exterior.
     St. Mary's Episcopal Church web site. Original church; present church interior.
     Louis F. Mohr Co. Specifications of George Jardine & Son organ (<1891). Courtesy Larry Trupiano.
     Wurts Bros. (New York, N.Y.). Interior (c.1910) showing George Jardine & Son organ.