HISTORICAL SOCIETY'S LIST OF PIPE ORGANS IN OWENSBORO, KY*
And Commentary on this list by The
Rev. John Schroeder, formerly of Owensboro
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
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
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
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
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
March 9, 2009
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