And Commentary on this list by The Rev. John Schroeder, formerly of Owensboro
(Commentary Below)


Owensboro, KY. Buena Vista Baptist Church. M. P. Möller (ca. 1947, Opus 7686) 2 manuals. 35 registers.
Owensboro, KY. Central Presbyterian. Unknown Builder (before 1910)
Owensboro, KY. Central United Presbyterian. Henry Pilcher's Sons (1910, Opus 710) 2 manuals. 9 ranks.
Owensboro, KY. First Baptist. Hook & Hastings (1895, Opus 1676) 2 manuals. 29 registers.
Owensboro, KY. First Baptist. Reuter Organ Co. (1974, Opus 1849) 3 manuals. 39 ranks.
Owensboro, KY. First Christian Ch.. Austin Organ Co. (1920s, Opus 1690) 3 manuals. 30 ranks.
Owensboro, KY. First Christian Church. Austin Organs, Inc. (Opus 2760) 3 manuals. 33 ranks.
Owensboro, KY. First Presbyterian Church. M. P. Möller (ca. 1955, Opus 8661) 2 manuals. 40 registers.
Owensboro, KY. Jewish Temple. Henry Pilcher's Sons (1911, Opus 736) 2 manuals. 7 stops.
Owensboro, KY. Methodist. George Jardine & Son (1892)
Owensboro, KY. Redfern, Jerome residence. George Jardine & Son 2 manuals.
Owensboro, KY. Settle Memorial Methodist Church. M. P. Möller (ca. 1955, Opus 8865) 3 manuals. 70 registers.
Owensboro, KY. Third Baptist. Aeolian-Skinner Organ Co. (1946, Opus 1097) 3 manuals. 25 ranks.
Owensboro, KY. Zion United Church of Christ. Randall Dyer & Associates (Opus 59) 3 manuals. 18 ranks.


I'll try to tell you what I know about the Owensboro pipe organs.

Buena Vista Baptist - I was never in that church.  As far as i know the organ is still there.

Central Presbyterian and Central United Presbyterian are the same church, and the organ is the one I mentioned to you.  It was restored by Goulding and Wood around 1988.  I never had the chance to see or hear it after the restoration. An additional 4’ stop was part of this project  The church is downtown at the corner of Fifth Street and St. Ann.

First Baptist, Hook & Hastings (1895) - As far as I know this organ is no longer in existence.  It was probably replaced by a 3 manual Kilgen Organ, about 24 ranks, probably in the 1920s.  When 1st Baptist was remodeled in 1973 this organ was given to Zion UCC.   About half of it was incorporated with Zion's 3 manual Hillgreen Lane (1929) when it was rebuilt by Glen Underhill in 1974.  The 1929 Hillgreen Lane organ included about 11 ranks from a 1909 organ installed by Edmund Giesecke.  About half the cost of this organ was paid by the Carneige Foundation.  I don’t remember exactly how many Giesecke ranks were retained by Glenn Underhill.  The combined Kilgen/Hillgreen Lane had about 24 ranks. The left-overs from combining the two organs went in several directions.  Glenn Underhill used some in other rebuilding projects such as Trinity UCC in Mt. Vernon.  I don't remember any other specific places.  Some parts were still in storage at Zion when I left there.  I suspect they ended up at the dump.

The organ rebuilt by Underhill with a new console was replaced by Randall Dyer after I left Owensboro.  As far as I know little or nothing was retained from the 1974 organ except for the harp.  It was rebuilt with a very noisy action. 

First Baptist, Reuter (1974)  The organ which replaced the 1920s Kilgen. 

First Christian - Austin - Same organ but rebuilt and enlarged about 15 years ago.  I have never heard it since it was rebuilt.  The church is at the corner of Seventh and Daviess.  If Phyllis Newman is still organist, I'm sure she would be glad to show you the organ.

First Presbyterian - Möller - I'm quite sure this organ is still there.

Jewish Temple - Pilcher - The last time I was in the temple, the facade pipes were still in place.  I don't know what was behind them, but a Hammond Organ was being used.

Methodist - Jardine (1892)  I'm not sure which Methodist church this might have been, quite possibly Settle Memorial. I doubt the organ is still in existence.

Jerome Redfern - At one time Jerome lived across the street from me.  At that time he had a 3 rank pipe organ.  He moved elsewhere, but I know that he bought or was given the organ which was in the old First Presbyterian Church at the corner of Seventh and Frederica.  The building was bought by Brescia College and used as a recital hall for a few years before it was torn down.  I vaguely remember Jerry dismantling the organ.  At that time he had no specific use in mind and was going to put it in storage.  At the time I wondered what he was going to do with the 16' Double Open Wood Diapason pipes.  This could be the Jardine Organ which he has now, but I don't know anything definite. 
Settle Memorial Methodist - Möller - Still in use as far as I know.

Third Baptist - Aeolian-Skinner - It may have been a casualty of the tornado which hit downtown Owensboro about 2 years ago.  The church steeple was blown over and smashed through the roof of the sanctuary.  I never heard anything specific about damage to the organ.

Zion UCC - Randall Dyer - I thought I had the program from the dedication of this organ, but I can't find it in my file.  I think it was installed in the early 1990s.  I mentioned it earlier in the paragraph about First Baptist Church.

One other historic organ in Owensboro comes to mind.  It was a Jardine Organ in the old St. Joseph Catholic Church, a congregation for the German-speaking Catholics across 4th Street from the English-speaking St. Paul's Catholic Church.  Many years ago as an economy measure the bishop closed St. Joseph and merged the congregation with St. Paul's.  After standing vacant for a number of years St. Joseph fell victim to a bull dozer.  The beautiful stained glass windows from Germany were removed and later installed in the Owensboro Art Museum.  There was talk of also salvaging the organ, but I never heard whether this was actually done.  I saw the console once when the bishop allowed the church to be open for some special anniversary.  One or two ranks were still partially playable, but whoever was in charge of the organ didn't know much about it.  The console looked like it pre-dated 1900.  Possibly someone at St. Paul's Church or someone in the bishop's office might have some record of the organ's fate when the bull dozer arrived.

St. Stephen's Cathedral had an old pipe organ in the balcony.  It sounded very much like the organ in Evansville's St. Mary's Catholic Church.  St. Stephen's installed an Allen Electronic in the nave but kept the pipe organ in the balcony as of 20 years ago.  I don't know what has happened since then.

When the Episcopal Church was downtown on 5th, there was an old pipe organ which was supplanted by a Hammond.  I once heard about neighborhood kids somehow getting some of the old pipes and went piping down the street!

I have probably told you more than you wanted to know about Owensboro organs.


John Schroeder
March 9, 2009

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