Pipe Organ Database

a project of the organ historical society

Wicks Organ Co. (Opus 3882, 1958)

Location:

East Canaan Congregational Church
172 Lower Road
East Canaan, CT 06378 US
Organ ID: 68197

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Status and Condition:

  • This instrument's location type is: Congregational Church
  • The organ has been altered from its original state.
  • The organ's condition is good, in regular use.
We received the most recent update for this instrument's status from Scot Huntington on April 29, 2021.

Technical Details:

  • 3 ranks.
Scot Huntington on April 29, 2021:

Richard Hamar also notes that the organ's electro-mechanical relays and switches were replaced by a first generation solid-state system between the mid-70s and early-80s by Ken Licht of Massachusetts and Vermont, who Richard believes was an ex-Berkshire employee. The organ is otherwise unaltered. It is interesting to note that when the church abandoned the Hamill in favor of the Wicks, they decreased the size of the organ and its tonal resources by half, likely in the mistaken belief they were getting a larger organ because it had more keyboards and stops...

We received the most recent update for this note from Scot Huntington on April 29, 2021.

Scot Huntington on April 29, 2021:

This organ and its case have been identified by OHS member Richard Hamar who once serviced both organs. The case is from the church's original Hamill- an 1874 one-manual, six-stop "Giant Organ". This was removed by Richard Geddes in 1958, at that time the organist in the nearby Norfolk Congregational Church, collector of organ parts, and an employee of Austin Organs. When he opened his own organ technician shop in Winsted, Conn. ca. 1961, the Hamill chest and chassis became his voicing machine, extant until he retired in the 1990s, at which time the Hamill remains were presumably discarded and the pipework found its way into various anonymous projects. The Wicks is 3 ranks: Diapason, Gedackt, and string, heavily unified but with nothing above 2', and reuses nothing from the Hamill except the historic case. The very fine facade stenciling is original.

We received the most recent update for this note from Scot Huntington on April 29, 2021.

Scot Huntington on April 26, 2021:

The congregation gathered in the mid-1700s and built the present striking meetinghouse in 1822. The church history notes they bought an organ in 1874, as yet unidentified, added a blower costing $165.65 in 1929, and replaced it with a new organ by the Wicks Organ Co. in 1958. Organbuilder Richard Geddes of Winsted, Connecticut played the dedication recital. In a niche at the front of the church is a handsome case with finely stenciled facade pipes which is stylistically appropriate to the 1870s. The Wicks was a small unit organ (3 ranks ?) with the console on the main floor under the gallery to the left of the altar area. It would appear Wicks retained the original case, but further research is needed to determine whether they recycled anything else of the original organ. This church does not appear on any of the currently known opus lists of 19th-century builders.

The town of North Canaan split into North, East, and South in the 1870s, and this church was in the area renamed East Canaan. In 1888, the church spun off a second congregation in the area still named North Canaan, called Pilgrim Congregational Church. That church bought Johnson & Son Op. 756 in 1891. In the late 1950s, the two congregations came under the pastorate of a single pastor, but moving forward still maintained separate buildings and congregations. The Pilgrim church sold the Johnson in 1980, which suggests the two congregations likely merged into a single congregation at this point, and the East Congregational Church reclaimed its original name: North Canaan Congregational Church. There is no longer a Pilgrim Church in North Canaan, and this historic church is physically located in an area still known as East Canaan.

We received the most recent update for this note from Scot Huntington on April 26, 2021.

Instrument Images:

Interior of the historic church: Photograph by Church Facebook page., submitted by Scot Huntington. Taken approx. ca. 2020

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