The OHS Pipe Organ Database

Portland (Paramount) Theatre - Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
1037 SW Broadway
Portland, Oregon 97205

OHS Database ID 60874.

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 February 8, 2019.


Technical Details

Wurlitzer EP chests .

Four manuals. 3 divisions. 20 ranks. Manual compass is 61 notes. Pedal compass is 32 notes.

The organ is in chambers to the sides at the front of the room. There are no visible pipes. Horseshoe style console. The console is on a lift.

Stop keys in horseshoe curves. Balanced swell shoes/pedals. Combination Action: Setterboard. Concave radiating pedalboard. Crescendo Pedal. Combination action thumb pistons.

Notes

  • Information from Encyclopedia of the American Theatre Organ, Vol. II by David L. Junchen. (Pasadena: Showcase Publications, 1989)
    Wurlitzer "Style Publix 1"
    Factory date: January 25, 1928
    Sold for $52,000 in 1977; went to Organ Grinder Pizza, Denver, Colorado (closed 1988) (Steven E. Lawson. December 21, 2017)
  • Updated by Eric Schmiedeberg, listing conversations with this person as the source of the information: Dennis Hedberg--Curator, Glenn Shelley--Organist.

    I first became aware of this instrument through my father, who had begun to attend the theatres of Portland in 1940 as a teenage transplant from Nebraska. As it turned out, my mother would one day come to work for John Haviland who owned the Paramount, New Heathman and Park Haviland (the original Heathman) Hotels. I would frequently hop on the Tri-Met bus after school and ride to the New Heathman to meet my mother after she got off of work. So, I spent quite a bit of time knocking around with the stagehands at the Paramount and staff at the New Heathman. By this time the organ had already been sold at auction in October of '75--according to the auction listing, but was still installed. My encounter with the console was in 1976. A stagehand showed it to me when he found out that I was a musicial student. Well, dad had said there was a pipe organ in the theatre, so....lead on! Behind a little spring-loaded door was a glorious 4-manual Wurlitzer console decorated like a birthday cake with all sorts of ornamentation on it. "Hop on and check it out", said the stagehand. Now, to a nine year old kid, this was akin to walking into the cockpit of a 747! This was my first hands-on encounter with a Wurlitzer theatre organ. That experience stayed in the back of my mind.


    Eventually, I wrote Dennis Hedberg of the Organ Grinder Corporation to inquire about the organ and try to find out more about it. He was very kind in typing out a personal letter (on Organ Grinder Corporation letterhead no less!) in response and sending along a stoplist which included many (if not all) of the alterations he had made to it over the years while caring for the organ. "If you disregard the notes I have made on the stoplist, you will have the specification of the instrument as it was built". The console tag is dated December, 1927." The stoplist you will see is taken verbatim from this 1979 posting. As it turns out, the Paramount organ was a stock Publix #1-model Wurlitzer.

    I discovered by listening to numerous recordings of this organ that it was installed in shallow chambers and was very THERE. No "fainting violet", this one! I also discovered, through listening to an Oregon Chapter ATOE tape featuring Mr. Carruthers, that he had done some tonal polishing on the organ after its installation. Harry and his father Joseph were the inventors of what would become known as the Wurlitzer electro-pneumatic windchest. This being at the behest of their boss, Robert Hope-Jones who was still running his own organ business in Elmira, NY. "I have to have that attack!" The "Wurlitzer" chest is indeed wickedly fast.

    Carruthers stated that a number of Wurlitzers in Portland were tonally finished by him. For theatre organs, this is rare. Portland had the largest number of theatres per capita than any other city in the world during the Golden Age. There were lots of Wurlitzers in that mix. As a result, most all of the largest Wurlitzers in town were much more refined tonally than what one would normally encounter. All of the Big Names played them at one time or another. This combination of players and technical attention made for an above-average listening experience.

    Carruthers quit Wurlitzer c.1912 and went to work for a few other firms before starting his own organ business in....Portland, Oregon.

    Portland area organist Glenn Shelley (1901-1982) told me that the Paramount organ was rather "snazzy" compared to its bigger sister--the 1918-vintage 4/33 "Show/Demonstrator" Wurlitzer at the Liberty Theatre--up the street. The Oriental Theatre 3/13 Wurlitzer that he had a hand in designing with Wurlitzer was "snazzier" yet!

    It is with great regret that I never heard the Paramount organ in a live setting. Just from the recordings I have, I know the sound must have been glorious! (Stephen Hall. December 29, 2018)
  • Updated by Eric Schmiedeberg, who gave this as the source of the information: I am very familiar with the Publix #1 model and personally saw the console in the theatre.

    (Stephen Hall. February 8, 2019)

Online Documents

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Related Database Entries

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Other Websites

  • . .[Last accessed 2018-12-29.]

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Photographs

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Console. Rudolph Wurlitzer Manufacturing Company, courtesy of Eric Schmiedeberg (1928)
Console. Photograph by Brother Andrew Corsini (July 1966 ATOE National Convention), courtesy of Eric Schmiedeberg
Auditorium Proscenium w/ Console. Photograph by Rapp and Rapp Architects, Chicago, Illinois (1928)
Auditorium Interior. Photograph by Rapp and Rapp Architects, Chicago, Illinois (1928)
Auditorium Interior Left Wall w/ Console. Photograph by Rapp and Rapp Architects, Chicago, Illinois (1928)

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Stoplist

When they are available, stoplists for organs are included in the Database. To make corrections in stoplists that you see here, please send details via e-mail to stoplists@pipeorgandatabase.org rather than submitting a new stoplist through our online form.

  • Original document from Eric Schmiedeberg.. Source: 1979 letter from Dennis Hedberg--Caretaker of the organ.
    Portland, OR
    Portland (Paramount) Theatre - Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
    
    Organ by The Rudolph Wurlitzer Co.--As built
    
    
    --NOTE: Stops denoted with (S) indicate voices speaking from the Solo (house-right) chamber.   
            Those with an (X) indicate voices speaking simultaneously from the Main and Solo.
    
    PEDAL                                            GREAT
    
    16' Tuba Profunda                                16' Tuba Profunda
    16' Diaphone                                     16' Diaphone
    16' Tibia Clausa (S)                             16' Tibia Clausa TC
    16' Bourdon                                      16' Tibia Clausa (S)
     8' Tuba Mirabilis                               16' Clarinet TC
     8' Tuba Horn                                    16' Saxophone TC
     8' Octave (Diapason)                            16' Solo String TC (X)
     8' Tibia Clausa (S)                             16' Vox Humana TC
     8' Clarinet                                     16' Vox Humana TC (S)
     8' Saxophone                                     8' Tuba Mirabilis
     8' Bass Solo String (X)                          8' Trumpet
     8' Cello (Viol d' Orchestre and Viol Celeste)    8' Tuba Horn
     8' Flute                                         8' Diaphonic Diapason
     4' Flute                                         8' Tibia Clausa
    16' Piano                                         8' Tibia Clausa (S)
        Bass Drum                                     8' Orchestral Oboe
        Kettle Drum (Bass Drum roll)                  8' Kinura
        Snare Drum                                    8' Clarinet
        Crash Cymbal                                  8' Saxophone
        Cymbal                                        8' Solo String
        Accompaniment to Pedal                        8' Solo String (S)
        Great to Pedal                                8' Viol d' Orchestre
        Solo to Pedal                                 8' Viol Celeste
                                                      8' Concert Flute
                                                      8' Vox Humana
    ACCOMPANIMENT                                     8' Vox Humana (S)
                                                      4' Piccolo
    16' Solo String (X)                               4' Piccolo (S)
     8' Tuba Horn                                     4' Viol
     8' Diaphonic Diapason                            4' Octave Celeste
     8' Tibia Clausa                                  4' Flute
     8' Tibia Clausa (S)                              4' Vox Humana
     8' Clarinet                                      4' Vox Humana (S)
     8' Saxophone                                 2-2/3' Twelfth (Flute)
     8' Solo String                                   2' Fifteenth (Viol d' Orchestre)
     8' Solo String (S)                               2' Piccolo (Flute)
     8' Viol d' Orchestre                         1-3/5' Tierce (Flute)
     8' Viol Celeste                                 16' Piano
     8' Oboe Horn                                     8' Piano
     8' Quintadena                                    4' Piano
     8' Concert Flute                                    Marimba
     8' Dulciana                                         Harp
     8' Vox Humana                                       Bells (reiterating Glockenspiel)
     8' Vox Humana (S)                                   Sleigh Bells
     4' Piccolo                                          Master Xylophone
     4' Piccolo (S)                                      Xylophone
     4' Viol                                             Glockenspiel
     4' Octave Celeste                                   Chrysoglott
     4' Flute                                            Cathedral Chimes
     4' Vox Humana                                       Sub Octave
     4' Vox Humana (S)                                   Octave
    2-2/3'Twelfth (Flute)                                Solo to Great
     2' Piccolo (Flute)
     8' Piano
        Mandolin (metal-tipped strips laid over the Piano strings--n's 25-88)
        Marimba
        Harp
        Chrysoglott (a.k.a. Celesta)
        Snare Drum
        Tambourine
        Castanets
        Chinese Block
        Tom Tom (single-stroke Snare w/ snare muted)
        Sand Block (on/off high pressure air exhaust blown over the edge of a metal plate)
        Octave 
        Solo to Accompaniment
    
    
    
    BOMBARDE                                         SOLO 
    
    16' Tuba Mirabilis TC                            8' Tuba Morabilis
    16' Tuba Profunda                                8' Trumpet
    16' Diaphone                                     8' Tuba Horn
    16' Tibia Clausa TC                              8' Diaphonic Diapason
    16' Tibia Clausa (S)                             8' Tibia Clausa
     8' Tuba Mirabilis                               8' Tibia Clausa (S)
     8' Trumpet                                      8' Orchestral Oboe
     8' Tuba Horn                                    8' Kinura
     8' Diaphonic Diapason                           8' Clarinet
     8' Tibia Clausa                                 8' Saxophone
     8' Tibia Clausa                                 8' Solo String
     8' Solo String                                  8' Solo String (S)
     8' Solo String (S)                              8' Oboe Horn
     8' Viol d' Orchestre                            8' Quintadena
     8' Viol Celeste                                 8' Vox Humana
     8' Concert Flute                                8' Vox Humana (S)
     4' Clarion Mirabilis                            8' Dulciana
     4' Clarion (Tuba Horn)                          4' Piccolo
     4' Piccolo                                      4' Piccolo (S)
     4' Piccolo (S)                                  8' Piano
        Xylophone                                       Marimba
        Glockenspiel                                    Master Xylophone
        Snare Drum                                      Glockenspiel
        Great to Bombarde Sub Octave                    Bells (reit. Glock.)
        Great to Bombarde Octave                        Chrysoglott
        Solo to Bombarde                                Cathedral Chimes
        
    
    
    BACK RAIL________________________________________________________________________
    
    
    PEDAL--PIZZICATO TOUCH                           TREMULANTS
    
    16' Tuba Profunda                                Main
                                                     Tibia Clausa
                                                     Vox Humana
    ACCOMPANIMENT SECOND TOUCHES                     Diaphone/Tuba
                                                     Solo
    8' Tuba Mirabilis                                Tibia Clausa (S)
    8' Tuba Horn                                     Vox Humana (S)
    8' Diaphonic Diapason                            Tuba Mirabilis
    8' Tibia Clausa
    8' Tibia Clausa (S)                
    8' Saxophone                   Pedal Traps 1st Touch/Second Touch Switch Toggle Switch 
    8' Strings (X)                 --Located above Pedal Crash Cymbal & Cymbal tabs--
    4' Piccolos (X)
       Xylophone                        
       Glockenspiel
       Cathedral Chimes                              SWELL PEDALS--Left to right--
       Triangle
       Solo to Accompaniment                         Main
       Solo to Accompaniment--Pizzicato              Solo
                                                     General**
                                                     Crescendo (affects Pedal and Great)
    GREAT SECOND TOUCHES
    
    16' Tuba Profunda                               PIANO-STYLE PEDALS
     8' Tibia Clausa                              --Located above right end of pedal board--
     8' Tibia Clausa (S)             
        Solo to Great                               Diaphone Thunder
        Solo to Great--Pizzicato                    Tuba Thunder
    
    
    BOMBARDE SECOND TOUCHES                         SWING-OUT TRAY
                                                   --Located below left side of key shelf--
    16' Tuba Profunda                             
     8' Tuba Horn                                   Horse's Hooves
     8' Tibia Clausa                                Bird (Main)
    		                                Bird (Solo)
                                                    Surf (toggle switch)
                                                    Fire Gong (reiterating)
                                                    Steamboat Whistle
                                                    Auto Horn
    
    SWELL INDICATORS ("bobber" type)                SWELL COUPLERS (toggle switches)
    --Located in middle of top stop rail--     --Located at center position over back rail--
     
    Main                                            Main 
    Solo                                            Solo
    General                                         General
    
    
    
    COMBINATION ACTION THUMB PISTONS
    
    Pedal--1-10 --Far left Accompaniment manual key slip
    Accompaniment--PP/P/MF/F/FF & 1-5
    Great--PP/P/MF/F/FF & 1-5++
    Bombarde--P/MF/F/FF/FFF & 1-5
    Solo--P/MF/F/FF/FF 
    
    ++Great pistons fitted with second touch contacts.  1st touch=Great Divisional
      Second touch fires all divisionals of like piston position at once.
      Example:  Great piston #1 fires all #1 divisional pistons
    
    **The General swell pedal is fitted with a metal stud that operates the Piano's sustain 
      mechanism when pressed.      
    
    Console Lights ON/OFF switch
    
    
    
    CHAMBER ANALYSIS--This provided by Eric Schmiedeberg--
    
    MAIN CHAMBER--All ranks on 10" wind unless noted otherwise--
    
    16' Diaphonic Diapason--73 pipes--15" wind
    16' Harmonic Tuba--85 pipes--15" wind
     8' Tibia Clausa--73 pipes--15" wind
    16' Flute--97 pipes
     8' Solo String--61 pipes
     8' Viol d' Orchestre--85 pipes
     8' Viol Celeste--73 pipes
     8' Clarinet--61 pipes
     8' Dulciana--61 pipes
     8' Vox Humana--61 pipes--6" wind
        Chrysoglott--49 notes
    
    
    SOLO CHAMBER--All ranks on 10" wind unless otherwise noted--
    
    16' Tibia Clausa--85 pipes--15" wind
     8' Tuba Mirabilis--73 pipes--15" wind
     8' Trumpet (brass resonators)--61 pipes
     8' Saxophone (brass resonators w/ treble flue pipes)--61 pipes
     8' Oboe Horn--61 pipes
     8' Orchestral Oboe--61 pipes
     8' Kinura--61 pipes
     8' Solo String--61 pipes
     8' Quintadena--61 pipes
     8' Vox Humana--61 pipes--6" wind
        Marimba/Harp--49 notes
        Xylophone--37 notes
        Glockenspiel--37 notes
        Sleigh Bells--25 notes
        Cathedral Chimes--25 notes
        All non-tonal percussions
        Sound Effects
    
    
    UNENCLOSED--In a room above Solo chamber--
    
    Upright Piano--85 notes used
    Master Xylophone--37 notes
    
    
    BLOWER
    
    10 horsepower Spencer Turbine Co. unit
    
    
    --I am not certain, but being familiar with the Paramount, I would venture the relays 
      and switching arrays were located in the basement of the theatre under the stage.
     
    
    
    
    
    
     
  • Click Here Original document from Eric Schmiedeberg.. Source: 1979 letter from Dennis Hedberg--Caretaker of the organ. Plain text; will open in a new window or tab.