Private Residence, Bergen County, N.J.
This instrument started its life as a 3/11 Wurlitzer, shipped from the North Tonowanda factory in 1927 to the Stanley Theatre on South Orange Avenue in Newark, N.J. Within a year of the organ’s debut the stage curtain caught fire and fell on the console, badly damaging it. A brand new console was fabricated by Wurlitzer for the organ and installed in August of 1928.
After the eventual demise of the theatre, the building was occupied by Casa Italiana, an Italian American social club which fortunately left the organ intact and playable. GSTOS held its very first annual officer installation dinner at the club in January of 1973, and held 7 more such events there every year through 1980. The 1979 festivities featured famed Radio City organist Ashley Miller and a Roaring 20’s Theme. In 1974 it was noted in GSTOS records that the organ was being maintained by Walter J. Froehlich. Froehlich, one of the 4 GSTOS founders, was noted for saving many organs from destruction as theatres closed. He later obtained the Stanley / Casa Italiana instrument.
The organ then went to the home of the current owners who wanted an “All Wurlitzer”, restored to “as new” instrument. Assisted by nationally known organist Barry Baker, an increase in specification to 23 ranks was devised. Every rank from the original instrument was used except the Kinura. It was replaced by a similar rank, a Krumet. (The Kinura plays today as part of the Lafayette Theatre 2/11 Wurlitzer, Suffern, N.Y). In addition, three of the original 8′ Stanley Newark ranks were extended to 16′.
New ranks included the Krumet and a Brass Saxophone, both of which came from the Stanley Theatre in Jersey City, N.J. The Quintadena was obtained from the organ at the Warner Theatre, Atlantic City, N.J. A second Tibia and a Style D Wurlitzer Trumpet came from the Elks Lodge, Queensboro, N.Y. The origin of the other added ranks and extensions is unknown.
Renowned theatre organ console builder Ken Crome was commissioned to create a brand new 4 manual console to control the organ, crafted in a style harmonizing with the décor of the owners’ room. Tonal finishing of the completed instrument was by Barry Baker.
The organ is installed in a Medieval Revival style great room. The main and solo organ chambers are hidden by two sets of painted façade pipes, with a percussion chamber located in the center behind the console. A retractable movie screen is mounted above the fireplace at the side of the room for silent movie screenings. The center of the console platform rotates to enable the organist to view the screen.
* Indicates the ten ranks from the Stanley Theatre, Newark, N.J. instrument
Main Chamber (M) (left of console)
In order from shades to back of chamber.
- Chrysoglott/Vibraphone (49 notes)
- Tibia Clausa 8-2 (10” wp)
- Tromba (Style D Trumpet) 8 (10” wp)
- Vox Humana 8 (6” wp) *
- Concert Flute 16-2 (10” wp) *
- Salicional 16-2 (10” wp) *(8 Stanley rank, extended to 16)
- Oboe Horn 8 (10” wp)
- Voix Celeste 8-4 (10” wp) (Celeste to the Salicional)
- Horn Diapason 16-4 (10” wp)
- Clarinet 16-8 (10” wp) *(8 Stanley rank, extended to 16)
Solo Chamber (S) (right of console)
In order from shades to back of chamber.
- Saxophone 8 (10” wp)
- Quintadena 8 (10” wp)
- Lieblich Flute 8-2 (6” wp) (Estey Flute d’Amour)
- Viol d’ Orchestre 8-2 (10” wp) *
- Vox Humana 8 (6” wp)
- Viol Celeste 8-4 (10” wp) *
- Open Diapason 8-4 (10” wp) *
- Krumet 8 (10” wp) (Replaced Stanley Kinura)
- Brass Trumpet 8 (10” wp) (Wurlitzer replica)
- Orchestral Oboe 8 (10” wp) *
- Tuba Horn 16-8 (16” wp) *
- Musette 8 (10” wp) (Wurlitzer replica)
- English Horn 8 (10” wp)
- Tibia Clausa 16-2 (12” wp) * (8 Stanley rank, extended to 16)
Percussion Chamber (P) (center directly behind console)
- Glockenspiel (37 notes) *
- Chimes (25 notes) *
- Xylophone (37 notes) *
- Marimba/Harp (49 notes) *
- Sleigh Bells (25 notes) *
- Traps and Effects
- Room Piano – Weber Duo-Art Grand with expression – located right of organ console.
- Chamber Piano – Story and Clark Upright – plays into both main and solo chambers.