The OHS Pipe Organ Database

BuilderID 3035

Builder Identification

Est. New York City, 1859; to Mount Vernon, NY in 1928; Yonkers, New York from 1940s until 1985.

Additional Notes

  • From the OHS PC Database, derived from A Guide to North American Organbuilders, rev. ed. by David H. Fox (Organ Historical Society, 1997). —

    Established by John H. and Caleb S. Odell in New York City, New York, 1859; relocated to Mount Vernon, New York, 1928; relocated to Yonkers, New York, 1940; active as service firm, 1980s; {succeeded by Anthony R. Meloni & Co. of Portchester, NY, 1985.*}

    *This claim was refuted by Harry Odell, Edward Odell, and other members of the Odell family. Per an email from Edward Odell it was settled out of court in favor of the Odell family in 2002.

    Staff: Charles P. Bryant; (George W. Earle, Sr.?); Bernhard Eckhardt; B. Eichler; John B. Fackler; Joshua Fackler; Isaac Harris; James W. Hopkin; Charles Huebner; William Huebner; Albert E. Jarvis; Jourdain; Caleb H. Odell; George W. Odell; Harry Odell; Lewis C. Odell; William H. Odell; John R. Potter; Charles A. Radzinsky; Henry Radzinsky; Thomas Robjohn; William Robjohn; Leo F. Schoenstein, Sr.; Henry S. Seymour; Sill; John Soles; Stennett; Frank Taft; George W. Till; Abram Wharton; Whittier; Henry W. Worley.

    Sources:

    • Diapason: Aug. 1925:6.
    • Diapason: Jan. 1928:1.
    • David Junchen, Encyclopedia of the American Theatre Organ, Vol. 2 (Pasadena: Showcase Publications, 1989), 442.
    • John Ogasapian, Organ Building in New York City 1700-1900 (Braintree, MA: The Organ Literature Foundation 1977), 144.
    • Organ Handbook (Organ Historical Society, 1993), 60.
    • Elizabeth Towne Schmitt.
    •  

  • From an e-mail received from Edward Odell October 13, 2015 [Note: Most of the text is verbatim from Mr. Odell's e-mail, some material has been omitted (mostly references to family relationships), and it has been changed from first to third person with names replacing pronouns or relations as needed. Editor] —

    J.H. & C.S. Odell was/is a single family-owned entity from 1859 to the present. Various family members served as operating owners/partners at different points over the decades.

    • 1859 to roughly 1900: John-Henry Odell and Caleb Sherwood Odell ( great-great grandfather of present owner, Edward Odell)
    • 1900 to postwar 1944 Lewis C. Odell, George Washington Odell, Caleb Herbert Odell (owner's grandfather)
    • 1944 to 1982: Caleb H. Odell’s sons, William H. Odell and Harry E. Odell (owner's father)

    At the time of his death in 1944, Caleb H. Odell was sole owner of the company and title passed to his surviving wife Matilda C. Odell (nee Weber). They had four children: Franklin, William (1902 -1978), Maybelle and Harry (1912-1998).

    Matilda maintained ownership until her death and the company was run by William H. (after concluding his tour in the United States Air Corps) from 1944 onward. Franklin was the eldest of the four, and at some point ceded his interest in the business back to Matilda for an undisclosed amount.

    Prior to William’s death in August of 1982, ownership was equally divided among the three siblings. William had never married and had no children; his will decreed that his share of the business be divided proportionally between his brother Harry and his sister Maybelle Hopkin. As Maybelle has passed many years prior, her interest was divided among her children, Judy and George Odell, as well as their surviving children.

    It was at the time that the company was reorganized as a corporation and shares allocated among [family members] based on their approximate amount of ownership. Officers were established, and Jerrold Hopkin acted as President, with Harry managing day-to-day operations as Director. Harry Odell was the single largest shareholder, holding roughly 45%.

    The transition and operating period in the aftermath of William's death in 1978 was not smooth. At the time, the primary function of the business was handling service, though the company had recently completed a new organ project for Christ the King R.C. nearby in Yonkers in 1977. Edward Odell did not recall the opus number, but it was in the 630s. There were also two major rebuild projects underway at the time, including Odell Opus 80.

    Owing to various difficulties the cousins eventually ceded all their interests to Harry. [By 1982] The corporation was dissolved; Harry kept the company title, and the remaining assets were sold. Harry ran the business as a two man operation until his son Edward took over in 1992 after returning from study at Auburn University. At that time, Edward re-registered the company with the County of Westchester, New York under the original name as “J.H. & C.S. Odell? It was around this time he placed the original Odell contract records with the American Organ Archives at the invitation of Dr. Stephen Pinel. The records were appraised by Ed Boadway in 1999."

  • For further information, see: J. H. & C. S. Odell

Database Entries

There are 207 entries in the database that describe organs by J. H. & C. S. Odell & Co.


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Builder's Nameplate. Photograph by James R. Stettner