Originally built for First Unitarian Society of San Francisco; moved here in 1912. After church closed ca. 1990, organ moved to Portland, Oregon.
Updated by Josh Bradshaw, who maintains the organ.
Update as of March 31, 2018: The Our Lady of Guadalupe Roman Catholic Church building was sold to private owners. The organ remains in the building and has been under my care since October 2016. Every effort is being made to preserve and maintain this historic instrument. Only three Hook & Hastings organs survived the San Francisco 1906 earthquake and fire. The other two have been relocated and refurbished. This one, in its unaltered state, remains in San Francisco as a priceless example of the 1800s craftsmanship of Hook & Hastings.
In 1912 the organ was relocated from First Unitarian and an electric blower and motor were installed by Leo Schoenstein to provide wind. The motor was inoperable when I first became involved. A new motor was installed on November 1, 2016. No one knew what to expect as the bellows began fill with air. It was a thrill to play and the sound was fantastic! Even the tuning was great for an organ had been silent and received no care since the early 1990s.
Preservation and maintenance efforts are under my supervision with the help of Schoenstein Organ Company. These include:
- New motor for blower installed November 1, 2016
- Tuning by Schoenstein. In many cases pipes that were out of tune only needed to be removed, dusted off and replaced to sound perfectly in tune. The instrument will be kept in tune for future public and private events and concerts.
- Broken trackers, all of which have been repaired by Schoenstein.
- The wind indicator was not functioning as the 130 year old string had broken. With new string in place the indicator is fully functional.
- Several reeds were not playing and similarly, dusting them off and cleaning the reed made the pipe sound perfectly.
- The access panels on the front of the organ were missing. New hand crafted wood panels have been created to cover the openings.
- As prior records indicate, most of the original ivory draw knob labels were missing. Temporary acrylic replacement draw knob labels are in place with calligraphy created by an artist to match the original 1888 fonts. A project is underway to use ivory substitutes to create labels that more closely resemble the original ivory. The large bellows has many leaks and leather grommets, now 130 years old, occasionally break rendering a key or pipe unplayable. There is also occasional ciphering on the great which we also think is from 130 year old leather. Plans are underway to fully clean and releather the entire organ so that its continued use for both public and private events in San Francisco are ensured for generations to come.
The date May 8, 1912 is on the console representing the year the organ was installed in this location. A 130 year celebration is planned for the organ on May 8, 2018. More information about the organ and future public and private music, art, science and technology events to be held in the building is available at www.MusicAndTech.org.
Updated through online information from Timothy Tikker. -- As of July 2012 this organ must be removed from the church within the next 4-5 weeks! A suitable new home is needed for it immediately!
Updated through online information from Michael Kirchanski. -- The organ has not been relocated to Portland, Oregon. It is still in the choir loft of the church in pretty much the condition when the church was closed in 1992. The key desk needs some attention as some of the keys had lost their ivory. The stop knobs have lost their labels. The pipe work, trackers, and sliders are all present and in apparently good condition. The instrument is not playable because the blower does not work. It may be electrically disconnected or has simply failed. The nave of the church has been converted into classrooms for St. Mary's Chinese School. As a result, the organ and original ceiling are hidden by the false ceilings of the classrooms. The only access is by way of the staircase to the choir loft. Once in the choir loft the original ceiling, stained glass windows, and organ are visible. The organ has been covered by tarpaulins for the past 10 or 15 years. Prior to the closing of the church, Schoenstein Organ Builders had carefully maintained the instrument. As a result, there is little pipe damage. The interior of the case is fairly free of dust. There is no apparent water or insect damage. The Archdiocese of San Francisco has found a buyer for the building; however the buyer is not interested in the organ. So, anyone willing to remove, restore, and reinstall the instrument in another location should be easily able to obtain it from the Archdiocese. The contact for the Archdicese is Mr. Les McDonald - (415)292-0800, Ext 2.
Updated through online information from James R. Stettner. -- Three-sectional facade with 19 stenciled pipes arranged: 5-9-5. The terraced stop jambs are angled-out in the French manner. The Pedal 16' Op. Diap. forms the upper sides of the case.
Status Note: There 1988
From First Unitarian Society, San Francisco, 1912. Installed here by Louis Schoenstein. In 1993 church was slated to be closed, and new home being sought for organ.