Pipe Organ Database

a project of the organ historical society

William W. Laws (1926)

Originally Hilborne L. Roosevelt (Opus 29, 1876)

Location:

Our Lady of Guadalupe at St. James R.C. Church
233 County Street
New Bedford, MA 02740 US
Organ ID: 17875

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Status and Condition:

  • This instrument's location type is: Roman Catholic Churches
  • The organ is unaltered from its original state.
  • The organ's condition is playable, but not in usable condition.
We received the most recent update for this instrument's status from Database Manager on May 13, 2018.

Technical Details:

  • Chests: Electro-pneumatic (EP)
  • 4 manuals.
All:
  • Chest Type(s): Electro-pneumatic (EP) chests
  • Position: In a gallery-level case at the rear of the room.
We received the most recent update for this division from Database Manager on May 13, 2018.
Main:
  • Manuals: 4
  • Position: Console in fixed position, center.
  • Key Action: Electrical connection from key to chest.
  • Stop Action: Electric connection between stop control and chest.
  • Console Style: Traditional style with roll top.
We received the most recent update for this console from Database Manager on May 13, 2018.
Database Manager on May 07, 2018: We received the most recent update for this note from Database Manager on May 13, 2018.

Database Manager on November 18, 2013:

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.

We received the most recent update for this note from Database Manager on February 11, 2019.

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