St. Peter Catholic Church - New York City (photo: Steven E. Lawson)

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Church of St. Peter
(Roman Catholic)

16 Barclay Street at Church Street
New York, N.Y. 10007
http://stpetersrcnyc.org/

Organ Specifications:
Present building (since 1836)
IV/41 Geo. Kilgen & Son, Op. 4740 (1931) – Chancel
IV/37 Geo. Kilgen & Son, Op. 3976 (1927) – Gallery
• III/38 Henry Erben (1837)) – Gallery
First building (1785-1836)
• Henry Erben (1824)


St. Peter's Catholic Church (1785-1836)  
Original St. Peter's Church (1785-1836)
 
   
Old St. Peter's is the Mother Church of Catholic New York, as it is the oldest Roman Catholic parish in New York City and New York State. The Roman Catholic Church was not permitted to function in New York during the Dutch and British colonial periods, except for the administration of Gov. Thomas Dongan (1683-88), who was himself Catholic. The American Revolution changed all this, and in 1785, after the British evacuation of New York, St. Peter’s Church was founded. Property was acquired on Barclay Street, and the first church constructed on the site of the present church. St. Peter's Parish opened the first Catholic school in the state of New York in 1800.

Elizabeth Ann Seton was received into the Roman Catholic Church at St. Peter's in 1805. Born in New York City in 1774, Elizabeth often prayed before The Crucifixion painting above St. Peter's main altar. (This painting by Mexican artist Jose Vallejo was a gift from the archbishop of Mexico City in 1789.) A widow and mother of five, the former Episcopalian eventually went on to found the Sisters of Charity. Elizabeth was the first person born in the (soon-to-be) United States to become a canonized saint (September 14, 1975).

The cornerstone of the present building was laid in 1836. Designed by John R. Haggerty and Thomas Thomas, the Greek Revival structure is built of granite and has a facade with six Ionic columns. St. Peter's was the first church in the archdiocese to offer midday services, and by the 1940s St. Peter's was becoming more of a service church as the financial district gave way to stores and tall office buildings, with thousands entering the area each day for work.

In 1965, St. Peter's was designated a landmark by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. The church is located just north of the World Trade Center towers, and was a staging area for emergency responders. The body of the Rev. Mychal Judge, Chaplain to the New York City Fire Department and officially the first casualty of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack, was brought to St. Peter's by firefighters and laid before the altar.
     
St. Peter's Catholic Church - New York City (photo: Steven E. Lawson)   St. Peter's Catholic Church - New York City (photo: Steven E. Lawson)
     
  Left chamber facade of Geo. Kilgen & Son organ, Op. 4740 (1931) in St. Peter's Catholic Church - New York City (photo: Steven E. Lawson)
Geo. Kilgen & Son, Inc.
St. Louis, Mo. – Opus 4740 (1931)
Electro-pneumatic action
4 manuals, 95 stops, 41 ranks



The present organ in St. Peter's Church was originally built in 1927 by Geo. Kilgen & Son of St. Louis. In 1931, the organ was enlarged by Kilgen and moved to the chancel, as described in The Diapason (June 1931):
"The Rev. Father Noonan, pastor of St. Peter's Catholic Church, New York City, who is planning on reconstructing his present church building, has conceived the idea of moving the Kilgen organ from the west gallery down to the sanctuary. As his plans developed, the scheme was enlarged and in consultation with his organist, Robert W. Wilkes, the scheme finally adopted was not only to move the great organ, but to place an Echo over the old chamber in the gallery and add a Solo organ to the main organ in the sanctuary, placing the Great and Choir on one side of the chancel and the Swell over the choir room on the other side, behind which was placed the Solo organ. A new four-manual console of the wing-type cathedral style will be placed in the sanctuary and a new 10-horsepower blower is included in the contract."
  Geo. Kilgen & Son organ, Op. 4740 (1931) in St. Peter's Catholic Church - New York City (photo: Steven E. Lawson)
   
  Geo. Kilgen & Son organ, Op. 4740 (1931) in St. Peter's Catholic Church - New York City (photo: Lisa Meloni Ragusa)
The massive four-manual console has color-coded stopkeys and a wealth of controls. Unusually, the general combination pistons are located on the backboard above the lower keys of the top manual. Pistons beneath the bottom manual are extra-long and have engraved letters or numbers on both the top and front sides. Above the top keyboard are eight stopkeys that control the light and heavy tremolos of the chancel divisions. As installed in 1931, this console was hidden from view in the right chancel chamber.

In 2011, the church commissioned Meloni & Farrier of Port Chester, N.Y., to restore the 80-year-old organ in time for the 10th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attack. Meloni & Farrier releathered, cleaned and repaired the organ as necessary. The original 1931 console was updated with a solid-state Peterson combination action, and moved to the gallery.
               
Great Organ (Manual II) – 61 notes, enclosed with Choir
16
  Diapason [unit]
85
2
  Flute
CH
8
  1st Diapason
61
1 3/5
  Flute
CH
8
  2nd Diapason
    String Mixture III ranks
CH
8
  Violin Diapason
CH
    Dulciana Mixture V ranks
305
8
  Doppel Flute
61
8
  Tuba
61
8
  Claribel Flute
CH
   
Pedal to Great 8'
8
  Viola
CH
   
Swell to Great 16', 8', 4'
8
  Dulciana [unit]
85
   
Choir to Great 16', 8', 4'
8
  Dulciana Celeste [TC]
73
   
Solo to Great 16', 8', 4'
4
  Dulciana Celeste
   
Great 16', 4', Unison Off
4
  Octave
   
Echo to Great 8'
4
  Flute
CH
   
Chimes
25 tubes
2 2/3
  Flute
CH
     

     

     
Swell Organ (Manual III) – 61 notes, enclosed
16
  Bourdon [unit]
97
2
  Flute
8
  Diapason
73
1 3/5
  Gedeckt
8
  Gedeckt
8
  Cornopean
73
8
  Harmonic Flute
73
8
  Oboe
73
8
  Flute Celeste [TC]
61
16
  Vox Humana [TC]
8
  Salicional
73
8
  Vox Humana
73
8
  Salicional Celeste [TC]
61
4
  Vox Humana
4
  Gedeckt
    Solo to Swell 16', 8', 4'
4
  Flute [Harm. Fl.]
    Swell 16', 4', Unison Off
2 2/3
  Gedeckt
       

     

     
Choir Organ (Manual I) – 61 notes, enclosed with Great
16
  Viola [unit]
97
4
  Viola
8
  Violin Diapason
73
4
  Viola Celeste
8
  Tibia [unit]
85
2 2/3
  Viola
8
  Violin
73
2
  Viola
8
  Quintadena
73
1 3/5
  Viola
8
  Claribel Flute
73
2 2/3
  Dulciana Celeste
GT
8
  Gemshorn
73
2
  Dulciana Celeste
GT
8
  Gemshorn Celeste
73
1 3/5
  Dulciana Celeste
GT
8
  Viola
    Dulciana Mixture V ranks
GT
8
  Viola Celeste [TC]
73
8
  Clarinet
73
8
  Dulciana Celeste
GT
   
Swell to Choir 16', 8', 4'
5 1/3
  Viola
   
Solo to Choir 16', 8', 4'
5 1/3
  Dulciana Celeste
GT
   
Choir 16', 4', Unison Off
4
  Dulciana Celeste
GT
   
Echo to Choir 8'
4
  Flute
   
Chimes
GT
               
Solo Organ (Manual IV) – 61 notes, enclosed
16
  Clarabella [unit]
85
8
  French Horn
73
8
  Stentorphone
73
8
  English Horn
73
8
  Clarabella
4
  Trombone
4
  Clarabella
    Solo 16', 4', Unison Off
16
  Trombone [unit]
85
   
Echo to Solo 8'
8
  Trombone
    Chimes
GT
               
Echo Organ (floating) – 61 notes, enclosed
8
  Gedeckt [unit]
85
    Echo Pedal  
8
  Echo Salicional [unit]
85
16
  Bourdon [ext. EC]
12
8
  Salicional Celeste [TC]
61
8
  Gedeckt
4
  Flute
    Echo to Pedal 8'  
4
  Salicional
       
8
  Vox Humana
73
       
    Tremolo          
    Echo 16', 4', Unison Off          

     

     
Pedal Organ – 32 notes
32
  Diapason [unit]
56
8
  Flute
16
  1st Diapason
8
  Violin
CH
16
  2nd Diapason
GT
8
  Dolce Flute
SW
16
  Clarabella
SO
8
  Dulciana
GT
16
  Bourdon [unit]
44
16
  Trombone
SO
16
  Viola
CH
16
  Tuba [ext. GT]
12
16
  Gedeckt
SW
8
  Trombone
SO
10 2/3
  Quint
   
Great to Pedal 8', 4'
10 2/3
  Dolce Quint
SW
   
Swell to Pedal 8', 4'
8
  Octave
   
Choir to Pedal 8'
8
  Clarabella
SO
   
Solo to Pedal 8'
               
Adjustable Combinations (hold and set)
   
Great Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10 (thumb)
Pedal On/Off (keycheek)
Swell Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10 (thumb)
Pedal On/Off (keycheek)
Choir Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12 (thumb)
Pedal On/Off (keycheek)
Solo Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-6 (thumb)
Pedal On/Off (keycheek)
Echo Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4 (thumb)  
Pedal Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10 (thumb)  
Entire Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10 (thumb)  
  Pedal Cancel (thumb)  
  Coupler Cancel (thumb)  
  General Cancel (thumb)  
               
Chancel Tremolos (stopkeys above top manual)
1.
  Solo Light  
5.
  Master Heavy
2.
  Swell Light  
6.
  Solo Heavy
3.
  Great Choir Light  
7.
  Swell Heavy
4.
  Master Light  
8.
  Great Choir Heavy
         
Accessories
    Balanced Expression Pedal – Great & Choir   Solo Pedal Off / Echo On (thumb)
    Balanced Expression Pedal – Swell   Lights On/Off (GT keycheek)
    Balanced Expression Pedal – Solo & Echo   Choir Express. On/Off (CH keycheek)
    Register Crescendo Pedal   Crescendo Indicator Lights (1-12)
    Sforzando Reversible (thumb & toe)   Sforzando Indicator Light
    Great to Pedal Reversible (thumb & toe)   Wind / Current Indicator Light
    Swell / Choir Expression Shoe Switch (stopkey)    
               
Geo. Kilgen & Son organ, Op. 4740 (1931) in St. Peter's Catholic Church - New York City (photo: Steven E. Lawson)   Geo. Kilgen & Son organ, Op. 4740 (1931) in St. Peter's Catholic Church - New York City (photo: Steven E. Lawson)   Geo. Kilgen & Son organ, Op. 4740 (1931) in St. Peter's Catholic Church - New York City (photo: Steven E. Lawson)
Left Stop Jamb: Solo, Swell, Pedal   Chancel Tremolos   Right Stop Jamb: Echo, Choir, Great
Geo. Kilgen & Son organ, Op. 4740 (1931) in St. Peter's Catholic Church - New York City (photo: Steven E. Lawson)   Geo. Kilgen & Son organ, Op. 4740 (1931) in St. Peter's Catholic Church - New York City (photo: Steven E. Lawson)   Geo. Kilgen & Son organ, Op. 4740 (1931) in St. Peter's Catholic Church - New York City (photo: Steven E. Lawson)
General Pistons above Solo manual   Extra-long pistons under Choir manual   Console with Altar visible thru screen
   
Geo. Kilgen & Son, Inc.
St. Louis, Mo. – Opus 3976 (1927)
Electro-pneumatic action
4 manuals, 68 stops, 37 ranks


After 90 years of service, the 1837 Henry Erben organ was replaced in 1927 by a new electro-pneumatic instrument built by Geo. Kilgen & Son of St. Louis.
               
Great Organ (Manual II) – 61 notes, enclosed with Choir
16
  Diapason [unit]
73
4
  Flute
8
  1st Diapason
61
4
  Unda Maris II ranks [ext.]
24
8
  2nd Diapason
2 2/3
  Flute Twelfth
8
  Third Diapason
61
2
  Flute Fifteenth
8
  Doppel Flute
61
    Dulciana Mixture V ranks
305
8
  Concert Flute [unit]
85
    String Mixture III ranks
CH
8
  Viola
CH
8
  Tuba Mirabilis
61
8
  Dulciana
61
    Tremolo  
8
  Unda Maris
61
   
Chimes *
21 tubes
4
  Octave
61
   
* in Echo

     

     
Swell Organ (Manual III) – 61 notes, enclosed
16
  Bourdon [unit]
97
2 2/3
  Nazard
8
  Open Diapason
73
2
  Piccolo
8
  Gedeckt
1 3/5
  Tierce
8
  Salicional
73
16
  Vox Humana [TC]
8
  String Celeste
73
8
  Cornopean
73
8
  Harmonic Flute
73
8
  Oboe
73
8
  Flute Celeste [TC]
49
8
  Vox Humana
61
4
  Flute
    Tremolo  
4
  Flauto Traverso [Harm. Fl.]
       

     

     
Choir Organ (Manual I) – 61 notes, enclosed with Great
16
  Contra Viola [unit]
97
4
  Violetta
8
  Violin Diapason
73
4
  Unda Maris II ranks
GT
8
  Violin
61
2 2/3
  Viola Twelfth
8
  Claribel Flute
61
2
  Viola Fifteenth
8
  Tibia Clausa
73
1 3/5
  Viola Seventeenth
8
  Quintadena
73
    Dulciana Mixture V ranks
GT
8
  Viola
8
  Clarinet
73
8
  Unda Maris II ranks
GT
    Tremolo  
4
  Flute
    Chimes  
               
Echo Organ (Manual IV) – 61 notes, enclosed
8
  Gedeckt
85
4
  Vox Angelica
73
8
  Echo Salicional
73
8
  Vox Humana [sep. box]
73
8
  Celeste
73
    Tremolo  
4
  Flute
       

     

     
Pedal Organ – 32 notes
32
  Resultant
8
  Octave
16
  1st Diapason [unit]
44
8
  Flute
16
  2nd Diapason
GT
8
  Dolce Flute
SW
16
  Bourdon [unit]
44
8
  Viola
CH
16
  Gedeckt
SW
16
  Tuba [ext. GT]
12
16
  Contra Viola
CH
       
   
  Remnants of the 1837 Henry Erben organ case in St. Peter's Catholic Church - New York City (photo: Steven E. Lawson)
Henry Erben
New York City (1837)
Mechanical action
3 manuals, 38 stops


The first organ in the present building was built by Henry Erben of New York City and installed in the gallery. According to the American Musical Directory of 1861, the organ had "3 banks keys, 38 stops, 2 octaves pedals" and was "Built by H. Erben, in 1837." Specifications for this organ have not yet been located.

Remains of the 1837 Erben case are extant in the gallery.
   
Organ in original building:

Henry Erben
New York City (1824)
Mechanical action


Specifications for this organ have not yet been located.
   
Sources:
     American Musical Directory. New York: Thomas Hutchinson, 1861.
     The Diapason (October 1927). Stoplist of Geo. Kilgen & Son organ, Op. 3976 (1927). Courtesy Jeff Scofield.
     The Diapason (June 1931). Specifications of Geo. Kilgen & Son organ, Op. 4740 (1931). Courtesy Jeff Scofield.
     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.
     The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society web site: www.newyorkfamilyhistory.org

Illustrations:
     Lawson, Steven E. Exterior; interior; console of Geo. Kilgen & Son organ, Op. 4740 (1931); remains of 1837 Henry Erben organ case.
     Ragusa, Lisa Meloni. Console in gallery (2012) of Geo. Kilgen & Son organ, Op. 4740 (1931)
.