Park Slope United Methodist Church - Brooklyn, NY
Park Slope United Methodist Church

410 Sixth Avenue at 8th Street
Brooklyn, N.Y. 11215

Organ Specifications:
Present building (since 1915)
II/7 Austin Organ Company, Op. 792 (1918)
First building (1884-1915)
• unknown (1900)

The Park Slope United Methodist Church came into being during the building boom following completion of the Brooklyn Bridge in 1883. At the time there was no Methodist church between the one at St. John's Place and the Eighteenth Street church. Members of the Hanson Place Methodist Episcopal Church organized a mission that would serve residents in the developing area known as Prospect Heights in Brooklyn. On the second Sunday of June 1884, Hanson Place pledged $15,000 to cover the cost of land and building an edifice, and guaranteed to provide financial support — including the pastor's salary of $1,800 a year and rent of a parsonage — until the society could be self-supporting.

Original Sixth Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church - Brooklyn, NY  
Original Sixth Avenue M.E. Church  
On June 29, 1884, a 100 by 150 foot lot on the northwest corner of Sixth Avenue and 8th Street was purchased for $12,000, the owner donating $2,000, and construction soon began on a modest brick structure (still extant as the Camp Friendship building). On September 28, 1884, the first public service of the society was held in a hall on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 7th Street. Next, a Sunday school was organized in the hall on October 12, 1884, with forty children invited. Two weeks later, on October 26, 1884, the society was formally organized as the Sixth Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church, with thirty members. Rev. Isaac M. Foster, who had been Grand Army chaplain in the interior of the state, was brought down to be the society's first pastor. On December 28, 1884, the completed church was dedicated with services in the morning, afternoon and evening. By the end of the day, $4,000 had been raised to retire the debt of the $11,000 building.

  1891 Proposal for Sixth Avenue Methodist Church - Brooklyn, NY
In the late 1880s, under the leadership of Rev. Dwight A. Jordan, the church flourished and the Sunday school grew to number over 800 scholars. The Brooklyn Eagle (Aug. 9, 1891:15) announced plans for a new church and parsonage, to be built on the present site. Weary & Kramer of Akron, Ohio, designed an edifice that would be "semi Gothic" in architecture, 135 feet long by 75 wide, and would accomodate 900 in the main auditorium, and a total of 1,600 when the partition to the Sunday school room was opened.

1893 Proposal for Sixth Avenue Methodist Church - Brooklyn, NY  
By May 1892, plans for the new church were changed and the vacant lot at Sixth Avenue and 8th Street was sold for $12,000, with the proceeds "to go toward the purchase of a site for a new edifice, at Seventh avenue and Sixth street." The reason given was that this vacinity was more convenient to the church people; in fact, it was a more fashionable area and very near where the new All Saints P.E. church was being built. Weary & Kramer designed a new church, parsonage and Sunday school hall in the Romanesque style. Based on the Akron combination church plan, the main auditorium would accomodate 700 persons, and when both auditoriums are joined into one there would be sittings for 1,200. The buildings were expected to cost $75,000 when completed. However, this edifice was never built, quite possibly due to the onset of the Panic of 1893, an economic depression caused by railroad overbuilding and railroad financing that set off a series of bank failures. In March 1894, the congregation repurchased the vacant lot at Sixth Avenue and 8th Street for $14,000.

It was not until 1915 that the present edifice was completed on the vacant corner lot. Designed in a simplified Gothic style, the brick and stone building appears to be a pared-down version of the 1891 plans by Weary & Kramer, and features a rectangular tower at the corner that is surmounted by crenelations. Over the years the church's fortunes have been erratic, largely reflecting the demographic and economic swings of the neighborhood. During the 1920s, membership declined as the population in the area shifted from predominantly Protestant to predominantly Catholic. Largely due to concerns over this decline, the Sixth Avenue and 18th Street Methodist churches merged in 1930, and the combined congregations took the name Park Slope Methodist Church.
Austin Organ, Op. 792 (1918) in Park Slope United Methodist Church - Brooklyn, NY (photo: Sebastian Glück)   Austin Organ, Op. 792 (1918) in Park Slope United Methodist Church - Brooklyn, NY (photo: Sebastian Glück)
Austin Organ Company
Hartford, Conn. – Opus 792 (1918)
Electro-pneumatic action
2 manuals, 12 stops, 7 ranks

The organ in Park Slope United Methodist Church was built in 1918 by the Austin Organ Company. Most of the pipes are enclosed in one expression box, except for the unenclosed Open Diapason that is partially in the façade. In 1962, the console was rebuilt by Austin but the organ is otherwise unchanged.
Great Organ (Manual I) – 61 notes, enclosed
  Open Diapason *
    Great to Great 16'  
    Great Unison Off  
  Viole d'Orchestre
    Great to Great 4'  
  Harmonic Flute
* unenclosed
Swell Organ (Manual II) – 61 notes, enclosed
    Tremolo [fan]  
  Viole d'Orchestre
    Swell to Swell 16'  
    Swell Unison Off  
  Vox Angelica [TC]
    Swell to Swell 4'  
  Harmonic Flute
Pedal Organ – 32 notes
  Dulciana [ext.]
    Great to Pedal 8', 4'   Swell to Great 16', 8', 4'
    Swell to Pedal 8', 4'    
Adjustable Combinations
Great Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8 (thumb)
Swell Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8 (thumb)
Pedal Organ Pistons 1-2-3 (toe)
Entire Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8 (thumb; 4-5-6 duplicated by toe)
    Great to Pedal (thumb)   Swell to Great (thumb)
    Swell to Pedal (thumb)   Tutti (thumb)
Pedal Movements
    Balanced Swell Pedal    
    Crescendo Pedal    
Unknown Builder

The first pipe organ in the Sixth Avenue Methodist Church was installed in 1900. An article in the Brooklyn Eagle (Feb. 23, 1900:15) noted that prior to this time, the congregation "had worshiped and sung their hymns to the accompaniment of a rather antiquated instrument for years and were of the opinion that its continued use would have no serious effect on the religious fervor of the congregation." At the time, the church had "an energetic Glee Club with more progressive ideas as to what church music ought to be, and its members decided that a modern pipe organ would be less trying on their own and the congregation's nerves, beside being a better incentive to devotion and incidentally a drawing card for a fuller attendance at the services." It was through the efforts of Miss Adelaide C. Dieckman, director of the Glee Club, that a pipe organ was secured. The new organ was dedicated on February 22, 1900 with a programme, organized by Ms. Dieckman, that featured the Glee Club, vocal soloists, piano and violin solos, and organ voluntaries played by Alfred D. Fohs. The builder of this organ is unknown.
     "Added to Brooklyn's Churches," The New York Times (Sept. 24, 1893).
     "Another Site Chosen," Brooklyn Eagle (July 31, 1892).
     "Brooklyn Realty Matters," The New York Times (Mar. 14, 1894).
     Glück, Sebastian. Specifications of Austin Organ, Op. 792 (1918).
     Ochse, Orpha. Austin Organs. Richmond: The Organ Historical Society, 2001.
     "Organ Dedication," Brooklyn Eagle (Feb. 23, 1900).
     Park Slope United Methodist Church web site:
     "Sixth Avenue Methodists," Brooklyn Eagle (Feb. 27, 1884).
     "The Sixth Avenue Methodists," Brooklyn Eagle (June 24, 1884).
     "The Old Sold For the New," Brooklyn Eagle (May 21, 1892).
     "To Build a Fine Church," Brooklyn Eagle (Aug. 9, 1891).

     Brooklyn Eagle (Aug. 9, 1891). Drawing of 1891 proposed church.
     Brooklyn Eagle (Sept. 24, 1893). Drawing of 1893 proposed church.
     Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn Collection. Exterior of original building (1909).
     Glück, Sebastian. Case and console of Austin Organ, Op. 792 (1918).
     Park Slope United Methodist Church web site. Exterior.