John Wanamaker Store - New York City (undated photo courtesy Friends of the Wanamaker Organ, www.wanamakerorgan.com)
John Wanamaker Annex (rear)
A.T. Stewart Store (center)
Grace Chuch (front)
Click on any image to enlarge
John Wanamaker Store

770 Broadway at 9th Street
New York, N.Y. 10003

Wanamaker Auditorium

Organ Specifications:
IV/118 Wanamaker Organ Shop (1920)
IV/45 Austin Organ Company, Op. 120 (1904)


In 1862, department store magnate Alexander T. Stewart opened this huge cast-iron emporium, which filled an entire block from Broadway to Fourth Avenue and from East 9th to 10th Streets. Abandoning his popular Marble Palace at Broadway and Chambers Street for what many considered an architectural monstrosity sited too far uptown, Stewart proved his critics wrong. The store was painted white inside and out with a dramatic central rotunda topped by a skylit dome, and became the anchor for "Ladies Mile." Twenty years after Stewart's death, the Philadelphia-based John Wanamaker Company bought the store.

John Wanamaker Store - New York City (1936 photo by Berenice Abbott, courtesy NYC-Architecture.com)  
In 1902, John Wanamaker built an equally large annex across 9th Street. A second-story bridge connecting the two—seen at the left of Berenice Abbott's 1936 photograph—was called "The Bridge of Progress." The Annex contained the auditorium which was the site of many concerts.

Wanamaker's sold the store in 1954, at a time when Herald Square had eclipsed "Ladies Mile" as New York's shopping mecca. Just prior to its demolition in 1956, the building caught fire and burned out of control for a full day before firemen could contain the blaze. The cast-iron construction withstood the fire, only to fall to the wrecker's ball. Today, a 21-story apartment block, built in 1960 and named Stewart House, occupies the site; the 1902 Wanamaker annex is an office building.
             

French organist Louis Vierne at the console of the Wanamaker Auditorium Organ, February 1927 (courtesy Friends of the Wanamaker Organ - www.wanamakerorgan.com)
Louis Vierne at the Wanamaker Auditorium Organ, February 1927
Wanamaker Organ Shop
Philadelphia, Penn. (1920)
Electro-pneumatic key and stop action
4 manuals, 115 stops, 118 ranks, 7,422 pipes
               
After the 1904 Austin organ suffered damage from a fire (c.1911-12), the Wanamaker Organ Shop rebuilt and greatly enlarged the organ. The redesigned organ included a new movable console with color-coded stop tablets, and a 13-stop Echo Organ, which was located on third floor and spoke through a tone chute. In 1947 and 1948, the Aeolian-Skinner Organ Co. of Boston was contracted to provide several additions to the organ. Following the sale and closure of the Wanamaker Store in New York, the organ console was acquired by Rubin Frels, an organ builder in Victoria, Texas (see photo below).
               
Choir Organ (Manual I) – 61 notes, enclosed (tablets colored Green; wind pressure 7½")
16
  Contra Viol
4
  Flute Harmonic
8
  Open Diapason
4
  Violette
8
  Melodia
2
  Piccolo
8
  Concert Flute
16
  Contra Fagotto
8
  Quintaphone
8
  Orchestral Oboe
8
  Viole D'Orchestre
8
  Clarinet
8
  Viole Celeste
8
  Cor Anglais
8
  Flute Celeste
  Tremolo I
8
  Dulciana
  Tremolo II
                
Great Organ (Manual II) – 61 notes, enclosed (tablets colored White; wind pressure 10")
16
  Double Diapason
4
  Flute Harmonic
16
  Major Diapason
5 1/3
  Mutation
8
  Open Diapason I
2 2/3
  Mutation
8
  Open Diapason II
2
  Mutation
8
  Violin Principal
1 2/5
  Mutation [sic 1 2/5]
8
  Cor de Chamois
  Compound Mutation IV ranks *
8
  Double Flute
  Double Trumpet
8
  Grand Flute
  Trumpet
8
  Flute Harmonic
  Clarion
8
  Gamba
  Tremolo I
8
  Viole D'Amour
  Tremolo II
4
  Principal
   
4
  Octave
  * draws four preceding stops

   

     

     
Swell Organ (Manual III) – 61 notes (enclosed; tablets colored Aqua; wind pressure 10")
16
  Bourdon
4
  Mutation
8
  Open Diapason
3 1/3
  Mutation
8
  Cathedral Diapason
2
  Mutation
8
  Stopped Diapason
1 1/3
  Mutation
8
  Chimney Flute
  Compound Mutation IV ranks *
8
  Clarabella
16
  Double Oboe Horn
8
  Dolce Flute
8
  Cornopean
8
  Nasard Gamba
8
  Oboe
8
  Aeolian Celeste
8
  Musette
8
  Vox Angelica
8
  Vox Humana
4
  Traverse Flute
  Tremolo I
   
  Tremolo II

     

  * draws four preceding stops
                
Solo Organ (Manual IV) – 61 notes, enclosed (tablets colored Lavender; wind pressure 15")
16
  Grand Diapason
2
  Piccolo
8
  Stentorphone
16
  Tuba Profunda
8
  Tibia
8
  Tuba Mirabilis
8
  Flute Harmonic
8
  French Horn
8
  Gamba
8
  Grand Clarinet
8
  Gamba Celeste
4
  Tuba Clarion
4
  Flute Harmonic
  Tremolo I
4
  Octave
  Tremolo II
                
Echo Organ (floating) – 61 notes, enclosed (tablets colored Yellow; wind pressure 5")

16

  Bourdon
8
  Oboe

8

  Open Diapason
8
  Euphone

8

  Stopped Diapason
8
  Vox Humana
8
  Salicional
  Minor Chimes
8
  Voix Celeste
  Tremolo I
8
  Gemshorn
  Tremolo II
4
  Flute D'Amour
          Echo Pedal
2
  Piccolo  
16
  Bourdon  
                
String Organ (floating) – 61 notes, enclosed (tablets colored Brown; wind pressure 10")
8
  String 1
8
  String 5
8
  String 2
  Tremolo I
8
  String 3
  Tremolo II
8
  String 4
   
                
Percussion (tablets colored White on the upper half, and the color of the division to which they are coupled on the lower half)
Piano on Pedal     Chimes on Great
Piano on Swell     Chimes on Choir
Piano on Swell (Sustained)          (pneumatic action)

     (vacuum pneumatic action)

    Harp on Great
Celesta on Great     Harp on Swell
Celesta on Swell     Harp on Choir
Celesta on Choir          (pneumatic action)
     (vacuum pneumatic action)      
                
Main Pedal Organ – 32 notes (tablets colored Black; wind pressure 10" unless noted)
32
  Contra Bourdon
8
  Cello –(7½" w.p)
16
  Open Diapason I
8
  Flute I
16
  Open Diapason II
8
  Flute II
16
  Contra Flute
4
  Flute
16
  Bourdon I
32
  Contra Trombone (15" w.p.)
16
  Bourdon II
16
  Trombone
16
  Violone
16
  Fagotto
16
  Viole
8
  Tromba
16
  Dulciana (7½" w.p.)
4
  Clarion
10 2/3
  Quint (7½" w.p)
   
               
Console of the Wanamaker Auditorium Organ (1920) - New York City (photo: David Scribner)
Wanamaker Auditorium Console (1920)
now located in Rubin Frels Residence,
Victoria, Texas

             

Austin Organ, Op. 120 (1904) in Wanamaker Auditorium - New York City (from Austin Organ Company Promotion Booklet, courtesy Austin Organs, Inc.)
Austin Organ Company
Hartford, Conn. – Opus 120 (1904)
Electro-pneumatic key action
Tubular stop action
Automatic player
4 manuals, 42 stops, 45 ranks

Wanamaker Auditorium at John Wanamaker Store - New York City (undated photo courtesy Friends of the Wanamaker Organ, www.wanamakerorgan.com)  

 

 

               
Great Organ – 61 notes
16
  Rohr Flute
61
4
  Octave
61
8
  Magnaton
SO
4
  Harmonic Flute
61
8
  Open Diapason
61
16
  Tuba Profunda
SO
8
  Geigen Principal
61
8
  Harmonic Tuba
SO
8
  Clarabel Flute
61
4
  Tuba Clarion
SO
8
  Doppel Flute
61
 
Tubular Bells
2 octaves
8
  Viole d'Amour
61
 
Snare, Drum, Cymbals, 2 Triangles, 2 Kettle Drums
                
Swell Organ – 61 notes, enclosed
16
  Quintaton
73
  Dolce Cornet III ranks
183
8
  Grand Diapason
73
16
  Double Oboe Horn
73
8
  Gamba
73
8
  Horn
73
8
  Rohr Flute
73
8
  Oboe
73
8
  Flauto Dolce
73
4
  Clarion
73
8
  Unda Maris [TC]
61
8
  Vox Humana
73
4
  Gemshorn
73
  Tremulant to low wind stops
4
  Flute d'Amour
73
   

 

     

 

     
Orchestral Organ – 61 notes, enclosed
16
  Contra Viole
73
2
  Piccolo
73
8
  Concert Flute
73
8
  Clarinet
73
8
  Viole d'Orchestre
73
8
  Orchestral Oboe
73
8
  Viole Celeste II ranks
134?
8
  Cor Anglais
73
4
  Flauto Traverso
73
  Tremulant
               
Solo Organ – 61 notes
16
  Magnaton
61
8
  Trumpet
61
8
  Magnaton [ext.]
12
16
  Tuba Profunda *
61
8
  Gross Flute
61
8
  Harmonic Tuba * [ext.]
12
4
  Hohl Flute
61
4
  Tuba Clarion * [ext.]
12
            * enclosed  
               
Echo Organ – 61 notes, enclosed (on opposite side of main organ)

8

  Lieblich Gedackt
61
8
  Vox Humana
61

8

  Phoneuma
61
  Cathedral Chimes

8

  Angelica [TC]
49
  Tremulant
               
Pedal Organ – 32 notes
32
  Magnaton [ext. SO]
12
16
  Dulciana [ext. GT VdA]
12
16
  Magnaton
SO
16
  Contra Viole
OR
16
  First Open Diapason
32
8
  Gross Flute [ext. 1st O.D.]
12
16
  Second Open Diapason
12
8
  Flute Dolce
GT
       [ext. GT Geigen]
16
  Tuba Profunda
SO
16
  Violone
32
8
  Harmonic Tuba
SO
16
  Sub Bass
GT
4
  Tuba Clarion
SO

             

Sources:
     Aeolian-Skinner Archives: http://home.cfl.rr.com/aeolianskinner/
     Austin Organs, Inc., Hartford, CT: http://www.austinorgans.com
     Biswanger, Ray. Music in the Marketplace: The Story of Philadelphia's Historic Wanamaker Organ. Philadelphia: Friends of the Wanamaker Organ Press, 1999.
     Kinzey, Allen, and Sand Lawn, comps. E.M. Skinner/Aeolian-Skinner Opus List (New Revised Edition). Richmond: The Organ Historical Society, 1997.
     Ochse, Orpha. Austin Organs. Richmond: The Organ Historical Society, 2001.

Photos:
     Abbott, Berenice. 1936 photo of John Wanamaker Store exterior.
     Austin Organs, Inc. Austin Organ Company Promotion Booklet, showing Austin Op. 120 (1904) in Wanamaker Auditorium.
     Friends of the Wanamaker Organ (www.wanamakerorgan.com). Louis Vierne at Wanamaker Organ Console (Feb. 1927); John Wanamaker Store exterior.
     Scribner, David C. Wanamaker Organ console in Rubin Frels Residence, Victoria, Tex.