Our Lady of Guadalupe at St. James Roman Catholic Church
233 County Street
New Bedford, MA 02740 US
Organ ID: 17875
Updated through online information from Matthew Dion. -- (From AGO Convention Article) Saint James Church (Our Lady of Guadalupe):
This parish was started in 1888 to serve the growing number of Catholics working in the nearby textile mills. The present granite Gothic structure, begun in 1890, was dedicated in 1907. ... In 1877 Hilborne Roosevelt of New York built a forty-seven stop, three-manual organ (Opus 29) for H.H. Richardson-s new building for Trinity Church in Boston. This organ was controlled by pneumatic action, save for a Vox Humana on an electric chest in the ceiling. In 1926, when E.M. Skinner installed a new organ (Opus 536) in Trinity, the Roosevelt was acquired by St. James and electrified by W.W. Laws.
For its new home Laws provided a four-manual Austin-style console, and added an Echo division of six ranks, located in the south triforium at the front of the nave. Laws fitted electric primaries to the Roosevelt slider chests and slide motors, and added treble extension chests to extend the manual compass to sixty-one notes. In the 1970s a clogged drain in the tower caused severe water damage to the Great windchests. The pipes, pallets and pulldown pneumatics were removed to allow the chests to dry out, but never reinstalled. The organ gradually lapsed into silence as a shrinking base of parishioners precluded spending money on its repair.
Last year, four parishes in the south end were merged into one, with St. James the surviving church. At the time of this writing, a group of convention committee members and volunteers have, with the approval of the new pastor, begun to implement repairs to make some of the organ playable for our visit. This important organ, a rare survival from Roosevelt-s early career, may yet have a new lease on life.
Organ facade in rear gallery: Photograph from an archival source: 2005 OHS Handbook, William T. Van Pelt, submitted by Paul R. Marchesano. Taken on 2004-05-10