Updated through information posted to OHSMEMBERS list November 15, 2008: -- The church completed a permanent structure (still in use) in 1872. A reed organ (still on the property) sufficed until 1899, when J. W. Steere & Son installed their Opus 456 of two manuals and 15 ranks, for $2,350. The instrument is still in use in its original condition. In the basement of the church is a "Steere & Son Water Motor" (perhaps a re-branded Ross?), untouched by time. Many years ago the City of Central City relocated and rebuilt its water mains, and the water motor was cut off from its water supply. With minimal work and a new water supply, the water motor would probably function. and with the linkage reattached to the bellows handle and a new water supply provided, the Steere would like become the only (?) organ in North America capable of being pumped by its water motor. ... While $2,350 sounds fantastically "cheap" for a pipe organ, remember that the miners working the gold mines in and around Central City at that time considered $4-5/day to be good pay. Thus the Steere would have cost an individual miner at least two years worth of pay!
Updated through on-line information from John Green Huddleston. -- The original handpump bellow is still in use. The water motor is no longer connected to city water but is intact. If water is reattached, the arm may be attached to the bellows. The electric blower from a local gold mine was installed in 1931. Opus #456 is a guess from a copy of a fire damaged original Steere spec brought to St. James by Chris Levoix - the last number is a guess as it is hard to read. Mr. Levoix searched for four hours, but was unable to find an Opus number on or in the case or mechanism. Steere lists Great 5 stops - Swell 9 stops - Pedal 2 stops - Mechanical 6 stops - for total of 22 stops. Steere specs state that there are 914 pipes. However the actual count is 858 pipes plus three dummies on the side. Facade pipes retain their original paint plus hemp leaves. Four companies bid on this organ. Three are unidentified. Steere sent a model and was accepted May 4, 1899. Factory date of completion is Oct. 1, 1899. The boxed organ arrived in Central City, Colorado on October 14. The installation was done by a Mr. Topliff (his name was on the packing cases) and Mr. Foote. The first concert was performed on Sunday, Nov. 2, 1899. This information is taken from the original Steere factory book pages; the organ committee minute book and the Central City "Register Call" (newspaper) of May and October, 1899.
Status Note: There 1998
Originally had water pump which exists but doesn't work. Cost. Tubular pneumatic pedal. $2350.
Sanctuary Interior, Chancel, and Pipe Facade: Photograph by William T. Van Pelt. Taken on 1997-05-04
Sanctuary Interior, Chancel, and Pipe Facade: Vintage Postcard, courtesy of T. Bradford Willis, DDS (1960s).