Heavenly Rest Episcopal / Central Church of the Nazarene / Changing Lives Now Ministry / My Church Ohio
340 S. Plum Street
Springfield, Ohio 45506
OHS Database ID 51413.
See the address on Google Maps.
Status and Condition
The organ has been altered from the original installation as described here.
The condition of the organ is in not known or has not been reported to the Database.
We received the most recent update on this organ's state and condition May 27, 2017.
If you can assist us with information concerning the current condition of this organ, please use the form accessible through the "Update" button.
The organ is in a case at the front of the room.
- This entry describes an original installation of a new pipe organ.
Identified by Timothy E. Conyers, based on personal knowledge of the organ.
-- I played this organ in November 1997. The building had been purchased by the Church of the Nazarene for a multi-racial congregation. The church was very old and beautiful, probably built in the latter half of the 1800's or very early 1900's. I was told it had originally been a Presbyterian Church and at some point the Springfield First Church of the Nazarene had once owned the building.
The building was in poor condition and needed repairs. Men from across the church district formed a Work & Witness Team to fix some of the major problems of the building. A special singspiration service was held a few weeks later with an invitation extended to all who had assisted. ... The trip took 1 1/2 hours, so we arrived about an hour before the service. I was allowed to examine the instrument during this waiting period.
The organ was playable but not usable. It needed repairs and tuning. There were air leaks and some stops did not play. To one side of the façade was a large stained glass window with a few small broken panes. Most of the glass had been covered except for a section near the top of the organ façade. Weather elements and cold air was able to come through the broken glass and onto the pipes that faced the congregation.
I was unable to examine the interior of the case. The instrument appeared to have been a tracker organ but I cannot be certain of this fact. It had been electrified at some point but otherwise appeared to be in its original state. Unfortunately I did not get a stop list or builder, and cannot recall if it even had a name plate on the console. I was questioned by the pastor about the possibility of the congregation selling the instrument. I recommended contacting the Organ Clearing House, American Guild of Organist, and the Organ Historical Society.
The current condition or location of this instrument is unknown. The Springfield Central Church of the Nazarene is no longer on the District roster of active congregations and has not been for several years. Satellite and street images reveal the building is still standing and apparently being used for some purpose as a three story addition has been added to the rear. (Database Manager. June 5, 2013)
- Updated through online information from Timothy E. Conyers. -- Examination of the organ in November 1997 - The instrument is in a case on the right side of the chancel. The attached keydesk places the organist's back to the chancel area and choir. The facade pipes above the keydesk had metal pipes painted white with solid gold accents on the mouth, and a gold line accent on the foot and on the body above the mouth. The wooden pipes facing the nave were also painted white with a gold line accent above the mouth. The pipes above the keydesk were in three flat sections. The two end "towers" had a horizontal small decorative wooden carving near the top of the pipes. I believe the center section had a similar carving, only slightly higher than the two side carvings. The large wooden pipes facing the congregation ascended slightly in height before leveling off and reaching the nave wall. These pipes were beside a large stained glass window. A small hole in the glass exposed the pipes to the elements. There is no evidence in the woodwork to indicate there had ever been a hand crank for the bellows. It may have originally had a water motor, a common feature for organs of this age. The instrument had been electrified at some point. The current blower may have been in the basement as I do not recall much noise being produced from a motor. In spite of its lack of care and tuning, the instrument had a beautiful tonal quality. (Database Manager. June 6, 2013)
- Updated through online information from J. A. Hefner.
Clark County Auditor records show the church was built in 1888, possibly narrowing down information on the organ. Changing Lives Now Ministry now operates in the building, though I have yet to contact them regarding the organ [if it still exists]. (Database Manager. December 8, 2016)
- Updated by J. A. Hefner, naming this as the source of information: "The Centennial Celebration of Springfield, Ohio: Held August 4th to 10th, 1901". Additionally, J. A. Hefner listed this website as a source of information: http://www.mychurchohio.com.
The organ still appears in a photo taken ca. March 2017, seen on the My Church Ohio website [seems to be successor to Changing Lives Now, even though the building's registered owner is still Changing Lives Now]. The property and sanctuary seem to have been renovated somewhat, though I am waiting on more details about the organ's condition.
The church building was originally built for "Church of the Heavenly Rest, Protestant Episcopal" [the engraved block can be seen on the church front, plus the 1888 cornerstone], funded by donation from William Foos and his wife. The dedication was 2 December 1888, performed by Rev C. M. Young of Greenville, with Miss Bassett as organist. [from "The Centennial Celebration of Springfield, Ohio: Held August 4th to 10th, 1901"]. (Steven E. Lawson. May 15, 2017)
- Updated by J. A. Hefner (Database Manager. May 24, 2017)
- Updated by J. A. Hefner, who gave this as the source of the information: personal inspection of organ with Mark Stickford.
Mark Stickford and I personally inspected the organ in May 2017. The church had been refurbished extensively by Changing Lives Now, and a great deal of history had been plastered over [quite literally] during the previous years, and the organ had names of previous organists [and possibly inspectors] penciled inside the panels. I'm waiting on the specific sources, but supposedly the history of the organ [including the installation technicians] was published in a 1910 newspaper article, when the organ was dedicated with a concert from a touring professional organist. Once that arrives, as well as the opus number from Aaron Tellers, I'll add it.
The organ also is in the memory of many longtime local residents, who attended church and heard it, who heard it for weddings, or just sitting on the porch while the organist practiced.
The church operated as Heavenly Rest Episcopal until 1939, and in 1940 it was sold to the Nazarenes. It functioned as Springfield First Nazarene, then Springfield Central Nazarene until the early 2000s, when it was abandoned, then purchased and renovated to host My Church Ohio/Changing Lives Now [the two are connected].
Unfortunately, the organ didn't improve with the building. We didn't attempt to play it, but it may not have made much sound at all. The decorative towers were partly broken, and the entire thing didn't seem like it had been touched in months, much less played...perhaps Mr. Conyers was one of the last people to play it.
The façade pipes' paint was flaking, and several were missing. On several occasions, the pipes were stolen, then recovered and put in the basement for safekeeping. The ivory pieces on the keys were broken, flaking off, and the keys were often stiff and didn't move. There is a door on the side of the case, below the bass pipes facing the congregation. This opened to reveal the bellows-pump handle and what seemed to be the tracker-linkages to the bass pipes.
The bellows supposedly had a split, but could be pumped [there were historic Foos-made wrought iron fixtures outside, and to prevent theft, they had been placed inside the organ case on top of the bellows].
On the floor in front of the organ side-access door, there is a trapdoor, leading to a shallow crawlspace where the blower is located [directly below the bellows]. The electricity to the blower was disconnected due to potential fire hazard, though I didn't try to examine it closely.
The stops were stiff [mechanical but not sure if pneumatically-assisted], and some got stuck or seemed disconnected/broken. Ironically, the Great-Swell coupler seemed to work when the keys were depressed, though some didn't move at all [I don't know if the organ had Barker-levers]. The Tremolo stop is next to the couplers and wind indicator, and on the ledge below is the gold-paint, stenciled "A. B. Felgemaker / Erie, Pa." name. Interestingly, early 1880s ABFs had the name on a small ivory diamond, hard to read. This is still facing the ceiling, perhaps not immediately obvious, but it predates the version where the nameplate is on the fallboard/backsplash, easily visible.
We didn't try to press any pedals [random items were sitting on them, as the organ/bench were used as side tables, since the instrument wasn't usable], but the pedalboard is the ABF type where the pedals are not flat-flush to the case, but rather are in an arc [not radiating, as the pedals are parallel, but not equal lengths].
Recently, the instrument was professionally appraised/inspected for usability, and it was deemed unrestorable [save for a complete gutting and expensive rebuild]. Once some other projects are finished, the instrument will be disassembled and removed, and the usable parts sold.
It's a sad ending to the instrument's life, though perhaps it will be heard again in another organ. (Database Manager. May 24, 2017)
- Updated by J. A. Hefner, listing conversations with this person as the source of the information: Aaron M. Tellers (Tellers Organ Co.).
According to Aaron Tellers, this is Felgemaker Opus 522, originally installed in this building in 1888. (Steven E. Lawson. May 25, 2017)
- Updated by J. A. Hefner, listing conversations with this person as the source of the information: Aaron M. Tellers (Tellers Organ Co.). (Database Manager. May 27, 2017)
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