The OHS Pipe Organ Database

Ford Auditorium
Jefferson Avenue
Detroit, Michigan

OHS Database ID 27237.

See the address on Google Maps.

Status and Condition

The organ has been relocated and is no longer at this location.
We received the most recent update on this organ's state and condition October 2, 2013.

Technical Details

Electro-pneumatic (EP) chests.

Three manuals. 7 divisions. 51 stops. 74 registers. 69 ranks. 4100 pipes. Manual compass is 61 notes. Pedal compass is 32 notes.

The organ is in a case at the front of the room. Traditional style console with roll top. The console is movable.

Drawknobs in vertical rows on angled jambs. Balanced swell shoes/pedals, standard AGO placement. Combination Action: Remote pneumatic/mechanical capture system. AGO Standard (concave radiating) pedalboard. Reversible full organ/tutti thumb piston. Reversible full organ/tutti toe stud. Combination action thumb pistons. Combination action toe studs. Coupler reversible thumb pistons. Coupler reversible toe studs.


  • Identified through online information from Douglas W. Craw. -- The organ was designed by Joseph S. Whiteford and dedicated in a recital by Marcel Dupré. It is in 2 parts: The main organ (4 Divisions/49 Ranks) is installed in chambers above the stage. There is also a Portative Organ (3 Divisons/23 Ranks) that is movable. Ford Auditorium has been closed for many years (since the early 90s I believe) but as of a couple of years ago the building was still standing and the organ was still inside. (Database Manager. July 26, 2007)
  • Updated through online information from Mark Funk. -- 2006--Sad situation. The auditorium was closed with the opening of the renovated Orchestra Hall. The Detroit Symphony Orchestra moved to the renovated Orchestra Hall. Former technician told me that if the organ were to be removed it changes the status of the building. Until then, the Detroit City Government can sit and do nothing with the building. Some officials won't even discuss the building (secondhand). The building was closed in 1998. The organ has not been played since then. This organ had been played by Virgil Fox. A true example of an organ being held hostage by politics. An underground newspaper stated about a year ago that the Detroit Theater Organ Society was debating removing the former Fisher Theater organ from their venue to the Ford Auditorium. However I have heard of no further action. The organ seems reasonably doomed. (Database Manager. December 10, 2007)
  • Updated through information adapted from E. M. Skinner/Aeolian-Skinner Opus List, by Sand Lawn and Allen Kinzey (Organ Historical Society, 1997), and included here through the kind permission of Sand Lawn:
    Inaugurated by Marcel Dupré in the fall of 1957; four taxi horns added in 1958, #A-447; extant; Hauptwerk and Positiv on movable platforms; building has been razed. (Database Manager. June 28, 2008)
  • Updated through online information from Richard Ditewig. -- The building has not been razed; it still stands. (Database Manager. July 5, 2009)
  • Updated through online information from Brian Ventura. -- The organ will be removed in the spring of 2011 by Helderop Pipe Organs. It will be stored for a future installation. Ford Auditorium will be demolished later in 2011. Main organ and portable are in good condition. The console has water damage but will be restored. (Database Manager. March 4, 2011)
  • According to an article by the Associated Press (7-2-11), the main organ is currently being removed from the building by volunteers with a deadline to have it completely out of the building by July 5. The plan is to have it be restored by Helderop and then installed at St. Aloysius Catholic Church in Detroit. The Portative organ was already removed from the building, but it will not be part of the St. Aloysius project. (Chad Boorsma. July 2, 2011)
  • Hauptwerk and Positiv have 56 notes (Steven E. Lawson. October 2, 2013)

Online Documents

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  • Aeolian-Skinner Archives via Allen Kinzey
    Detroit, Michigan
    Henry and Edsel Ford Auditorium
    Aeolian-Skinner Organ Co., Inc.   Opus 1324   1955      3 manuals, 51 stops, 69 ranks
               GREAT ORGAN (II)                          HAUPTWERK (II, portable)
            8' Principal             61              16' Quintade              56
            8' Bourdon               61               8' Prinzipal             56
            4' Octave                61               8' Holzgedackt           56
        2 2/3' Twelfth               61               8' Spitzflöte            56
            2' Fifteenth             61               4' Praestant             56
           IV  Fourniture           244           2 2/3' Quinte                56
          III  Cymbel               183               2' Super Oktav           56
           16' Bombarde              61              IV  Mixtur               224
            8' Trompette Harmonique  61               8' Krummhorn             PO
            4' Clairon Harmonique    61
                                                         POSITIV (I, portable)
               SWELL ORGAN (III)                      8' Rohrflöte             56
           16' Rohrgedackt           68               8' Spitzflöte            HW
            8' Viola Pomposa         68               4' Koppelflöte           56
            8' Viola Celeste         68           2 2/3' Nasat                 56
            8' Rohrgedackt           12               2' Oktav                 56
            4' Prestant              68           1 3/5' Terz                  56
            4' Flauto Traverso       68               1' Sifflöte              56
            2' Octavin               61             III  Zimbel               168
           IV  Plein Jeu            244               8' Krummhorn             56
           16' Contre Hautbois       68
            8' Trompette             68                  PEDAL (portable)
            4' Clairon               68              16' Gedacktbass           12 HW
               Tremulant                             16' Quintade              HW
                                                      8' Spitzprinzipal        32
               CHOIR ORGAN (I)                        8' Holzgedackt           HW
            8' Spitzviol             68               4' Choralbass            12
            8' Flûte à Chéminee      68               4' Holzgedackt           HW
            8' Dolcan                68               2' Holzgedackt           HW
            8' Dolcan Celeste        68              16' Krummhorn             12 PO
            4' Nachthorn             68               8' Krummhorn             PO
            2' Blockflöte            61               4' Krummhorn             PO
           II  Sesquialtera         122
            8' Rohrschalmei          68
            4' Petite Clairon        68
               PEDAL ORGAN
           16' Contre Basse          32
           16' Montre                GT
           16' Bourdon               32
           16' Rohrgedackt           SW
            8' Octave                32
            8' Bourdon               12
            8' Rohrgedackt           SW
            4' Choralbass            12
            4' Bourdon               12
            V  Mixtur               160
           32' Contre Bombarde       12 GT
           16' Posaune               32
           16' Bombarde              GT
           16' Contre Hautbois       SW
            8' Trumpet               12
            4' Clairon               12
    [Received from Steven E. Lawson  2013-10-03]
  • Click Here Aeolian-Skinner Archives via Allen Kinzey Plain text; will open in a new window or tab.