Unknown Builder (1985)

Originally Wm. M. Goodrich (ca. 1829)


Lawrenceville School
2500 Main Street
Lawrenceville, NJ US
Piano Class Studio
Organ ID: 72905

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Status and Condition:

  • This instrument's location type is: High Schools, Preparatory Schools, and Academies
  • The organ has been altered from its original state.
  • The organ's condition is unknown.
We received the most recent update for this instrument's status from Scot Huntington on March 10, 2023.

Technical Details:

  • 4 ranks.
Scot Huntington on March 10, 2023:

Since the OHS Council visited this organ in 1986, the school has built a substantial new arts building, the Clark Performing Arts Center, and if the organ is still there, one would presume it would be moved to the arts building along with all the other pianos from the piano lab room.

We received the most recent update for this note from Scot Huntington on March 10, 2023.

Scot Huntington on March 10, 2023:

While this instrument has no nameplate, it is attributed to the Goodrich clan, either William or Ebenezer. The Empire style case with pillars is similar to an Ebenezer instrument in the possession of Wahl organbuilders and an instrument at St. Peter's in Cambridge, Mass. having a stolen nameplate but also having general Goodrich characteristics. The NJ instrument was built for Ellen Douglas Loomis of Burlington, Vermont in 1829 and presented to the Lawrenceville School "on loan" by her descendants in 1972. The organ was "discovered" by a visit from OHS National Council on Feb. 21, 1986 while attending a meeting at the OHS Archives in nearby Westminster Choir College, Princeton.

Much to their disappointment, the discovered an instrument utterly ruined, irreversibly so, by a local incompetent hack the previous year who attempted to make a baroque organ out of it (the organ had remained in original condition up to 1985).

The metal pipes had all been taken apart and had their languids replaced, then revoiced as baroque stops upon reassembly. The Dulciana was cut down, cut-up, and capped, to become a chimney flute 4' on the original Principal 4' toeboard. The Principal was repitched as an 8' Open Diapason and placed on the Dulciana toeboard for reasons inconceivable, thus leaving the organ with two identical 8' Diapason stops. The wood Stopt Diapason was denicked and cut up into a chiffy Gedackt. That such wanton destruction of such an historic artifact would occur as late as the mid-80s in mind-boggling, and one wonders how the school cold have allowed such vandalism to occur upon an instrument on loan and in their care. While the original Goodrich would have been priceless, the instrument how is historically worthless as a Goodrich pipe organ.

The one exceptional feature of the instrument is its free reed stop (name unknown), probably the only extant example of its kind from the period except for the bottom octave of free reeds in the Josiah Richards chamber organ once owned by David Proper. The Smithsonian Goodrich organ had a free reed stop, now missing, as did E. & G.G. Hook No. 1 now at the Essex Institute. While the destruction of the organ's original tonal scheme is regrettable, the survival of an early free reed working pressure is an extraordinary artifact. The 1985 alteration disconnected and removed the stop action to this stop, but left the sounding portion intact.

The organ was well traveled when owned by the original family, well detailed in The Tracker Spring 1986 Vol. 30 No.2. The organ originally had the more typical cloth screen, pleated and gathered around a central post with either a cloth or brass clutch in a sunburst pattern. This was replaced at some point later in the organ's life with the present facade of dummy pipes. The wind system is typical for the work of Ebenezer Goodrich, i.e. a single wedge feeder bellows feeding a double-ribbed wedge reservoir. The Windchest is key scale and place below the keyboard, with a pin action directly from key to chest, and the reed box is attached to the front of the chest. The kick panel has a later fabric covering and may have originally been a pleated cloth of a matching material and color to the upper sunburst. All the ivory stop labels are now missing save one blank, and the ivory keyboard naturals were recovered with plastic in the 1985 ruination. in 1986 the wind system was barely functional making the organ difficult to play. Further research is needed to determine the organ's location and condition in 2023.

We received the most recent update for this note from Scot Huntington on March 10, 2023.
The Tracker: Open In New Tab Originally published 30:2 Spring 1986
We received the most recent update for this stoplist from Scot Huntington on March 10, 2023.

Instrument Images:

Image of the Goodrich as it existed in 1986.: Photograph by The Tracker 30:2:29, by William T. Van Pelt, submitted by Scot Huntington. Taken approx. 1986