St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church - Staten Island, NY
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Church of St. Peter
(Roman Catholic)

53 St. Mark's Place
New Brighton, Staten Island, N.Y. 10301


Organ Specifications:
Present building (since 1903):
• III/ Allen Organ Company electronic – "Protege" (2012)
• III/ Allen Organ Company electronic (1960s)
IV/57 M.P. Möller, Inc., Op. 4414 (1925)
• unknown builder (c.1903) – moved to Lower Church (1925)
First building (1844-burned 1890):
• Henry Erben (1850)


Before the establishment of St. Peter's in 1839, the Mass was not regularly celebrated on Staten Island. In fact, Catholics on the island had to travel to either St. Peter's in Manhattan or St. James's in Brooklyn if they wished to partake in the Mass on a regular basis. Bishop Hughes, after considering that the Catholic population on the island had grown to around 100 people, decided that a parish should be established on Staten Island. Father Ildelfonso Medrano, an exiled Spaniard, was assigned by the bishop as St. Peter's first pastor on April 1, 1839. The Catholic population in Staten Island and the surrounding areas was so small that Father Medrano was responsible for the Catholics of Perth Amboy, New Brunswick, and Princeton, as well as Staten Island. The Spanish priest could only get to his various assignments on horseback. Father Medrano's first Mass for the parish of St. Peter's was celebrated in an abandoned gun factory; this setting though, was temporary. On March 25, 1844, the church was completed, and mass was celebrated for the first time on the Feast of the Annunciation during that year.

St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church - Staten Island, NY  
As St. Peter's grew, so did Catholicism on Staten Island. During the late 1840's, a quarantine hospital was built in Tompkinsville to house the thousands of Irish immigrants who contracted cholera on their way to America. Father Patrick Murphy, pastor of St. Peter's at the time, died from the same disease because he administered Last Rites to the many Catholics who died in this hospital. By 1856, the pastors of St. Peter's had directed the construction of a cemetery, a grammar school, and three other parishes in Staten Island. In the late 1890's, the original church burned down, but the spirit of St. Peter's parishioners ensured that a new church would soon be built. By Thanksgiving Day of 1903, the new and present neo-Romanesque church, designed by Harding & Gooch in 1900, was dedicated by Archbishop Farley. Since it is built upon a hill, the church can be seen from quite a distance. Many sailors have used St. Peter's bell tower as a reference point when at sea. The crockets point towards heavens, each having a Celtic cross as their finial. The church is located in the Saint George/New Brighton Historic District, as designated in 1994 by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.
             
Allen Organ Company
Macungie, Penn. – "Protege" Model (2012)
Electronic tonal production
3 manuals

In 2012, a new three-manual electronic organ built by the Allen Organ Company replaced the previous Allen Organ that dated from the 1960s. Specifications of this organ have not yet been located.
             
Allen Organ Company
Macungie, Penn. (1960s)
Electronic tonal production
3 manuals

In the 1960s, a three-manual electronic organ by the Allen Organ Company was installed when the 1925 Möller organ became unplayable. Specifications of this organ have not yet been located.
               
  Möller Organ, Op. 4414 (1926) at St. Peter's Catholic Church - Staten Island, NY (photo: Diego La Jolla)
M.P. Möller, Inc.
Hagerstown, Md. – Opus 4414 (1925)
Electro-pneumatic action
4 manuals, 101 registers, 61 stops, 42 ranks




The impressive four-manual and pedal organ in St. Peter's Church was built in 1925 by the M.P. Möller company at a cost of $18,400. Included in the contract, dated May 20, 1925, is the proviso that Möller "agrees to dismantle present old organ in above church and erect it in the basement of said church free of charge." The Möller organ is installed in three areas of the church: in the west gallery are the Great, Choir, Swell, Solo and blower; in an arched gallery on the south wall of the nave is the Antiphonal Great, and the four-manual drawknob console; and in an arched gallery on the north wall of the nave is the Antiphonal Swell. Sadly, this magnificent organ has been unplayable since the 1960s, but it is hoped that the extant organ can someday be restored.

Click here to view the original M.P. Möller contract and specification.

Mr. Robert V. Scara, who studied with Leo J. Bartinique (organist/choir director at St. Peter's from the 1930s-1950s), reports that in the 1950s the organ had a selection of theater organ stops, including a Grand Piano, harp, and drums, and several others. The added resources were located in the Antiphonal Swell chamber, and were activated by drawknobs in the right stop jamb and tabs above the manuals. The stops were not extant in the 1970s, and no further information is available.
               
Great Organ (Manual II) – 61 notes, enclosed (6" wind pressure)
16
  Bourdon
PED
8
  Gamba
73
8
  First Open Diapason
61
4
  Octave [CH Op. Diap.]
CH
8
  Second Open Diapason
73
4
  Flute Harmonic
73
8
  Gross Flute [PED Op. Diap.]
PED
    Mixture IV ranks
244
8
  Gemshorn
73
8
  Trumpet
73
8
  Melodia
CH
    Tremolo  
 
     
 
     
Swell Organ (Manual III) – 61 notes, enclosed (6" wind pressure)
16
  Bourdon
101
8
  Viole d'Orchestre
73
8
  Lieblich Gedeckt [Bourdon]
8
  Vox Celeste [TC]
61
4
  Orchestral Flute [Bourdon]
8
  Aeoline
73
2 2/3
  Twelfth [Bourdon]
4
  Salicet [ext.]
2
  Fifteenth [Bourdon]
8
  Oboe
73
1 3/5
  Tiercena [Bourdon]
8
  Cornopean
73
8
  Open Diapason
73
8
  Vox Humana
61
8
  Clarabella
73
    Tremolo  
8
  Salicional
73
       
 
     
 
     
Choir Organ (Manual I) – 61 notes, enclosed (6" wind pressure)
8
  Open Diapason
73
4
  Flute d'Amour
73
8
  Melodia
73
8
  Clarinet
73
8
  Dulciana
73
   
Concert Harp
49 bars
8
  Unda Maris [TC]
61
    Tremolo  
4
  Fugara [Dulciana]
       
               
Solo Organ (Manual IV) – 61 notes, enclosed (10" wind pressure)
8
  Stentorphone
73
16
  Tuba Profunda
85
8
  Philomela
73
8
  Tuba Mirabilis
8
  Gross Gamba
73
4
  Tuba Clarion
8
  Gamba Celeste [TC]
61
    Tremolo  
4
  Flute [Philomela]
       
               
Antiphonal Great Organ – 61 notes, enclosed (5" wind pressure) – playable from Great manual
8
  Violone Diapason
61
    Tremolo  
8
  Flute Celeste II ranks
122
       
8
  Viole Celeste II ranks
122
16
  Pedal Lieblich Gedeckt
32
               
Antiphonal Swell Organ – 61 notes, enclosed (5" wind pressure) – playable from Swell manual
8
  Cor d'Nuit
61
   
Tremolo
4
  Forest Flute
61
   
Chimes
preparation
8
  Vox Humana
61
16
  Pedal Bourdon
32
               
Pedal Organ – 32 notes (6" wind pressure)
32
  Resultant [Op.Diap. + Bdn.]
8
  Flute [Bourdon]
SO
16
  Open Diapason
85
8
  Cello [Gross Gamba]
SO
16
  Bourdon
61
16
  Tuba
SO
16
  Gamba [ext. SO Gr. Gamba]
12
8
  Tuba
SO
16
  Gedeckt
SW
4
  Clarion
SO
8
  Open Diapason [Philomela]
SO
       
               
Couplers
    Great to Pedal 8', 4'     Pedal Octave
    Swell to Pedal 8'     Great Antiphonal "On" Great "Off"
    Choir to Pedal 8'     Great Antiphonal to Great
    Solo to Pedal 8', 4'     Swell Antiphonal to Swell
    Swell to Great 16', 8', 4'     Swell Antiphonal "On" Swell "Off"
    Choir to Great 16', 8', 4'     Swell and Great Manual Couplers
    Solo to Great 16', 8', 4'          to affect Antiphonal
    Choir to Swell 16', 8', 4'     All Couplers Cancel – by Piston
    Solo to Swell 16', 8', 4'     Great 16', 4', Unison Separation
    Swell to Choir 16', 8', 4'     Swell 16', 4', Unison Separation
    Solo to Choir 16', 8', 4'     Choir 16', 4', Unison Separation
    Great to Solo 8'     Solo 16', 4', Unison Separation
               
Adjustable Combinations
   
Solo Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-6 (thumb)
Swell Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-6 (thumb)
Great Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-6 (thumb)
Choir Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-6 (thumb)
Pedal Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-6 (thumb)
Full Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-0 (thumb)
Antiphonal Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5 (thumb)
  Pedal Piston Couplers to Manual Pistons in jambs left side
               
Pedal Movements
    Balanced Expression Pedal – Ant. Great   Balanced Expression Pedal – Solo
    Balanced Expression Pedal – Ant. Swell   Balanced Grand Crescendo Pedal
    Balanced Expression Pedal – Swell   Sforzando Pedal (toe)
    Balanced Expression Pedal – Great–Choir   Great to Pedal Reversible
               
 
 
               
Unknown Builder
(c. 1903)


No details are available about the organ which preceded the 1925 M.P. Möller instrument, but the contract, dated May 20, 1925, states that Möller "agrees to dismantle present old organ in above church and erect it in the basement of said church free of charge."
               
Organ in original church:

Henry Erben
New York City (1850)
Mechanical action


This Erben organ probably burned with the church in 1890. Specifications for this organ have not yet been located.
               
Sources:
     Dolkart, Andrew S. and Matthew A. Postal. A. Guide to New York City Landmarks (Third Edition). New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2004.
     Medieval New York web site: www.fordham.edu/halsall/medny/melluso.html
     Scara, Robert V. Factory Specifications of M.P. Möller organ, Op. 4414 (1925).

Illustrations:
     La Jolla, Diego. Photos of M.P. Möller organ, Op. 4414 (1925).