St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church - Coney Island (Brooklyn), N.Y.
 
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St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church

2801 West 8th Street at Neptune Avenue
Coney Island (Brooklyn), N.Y. 11224
http://www.stpaulsconeyisland.org/


Organ Specifications:
2801 West 8th Street (since 1960s)
► II/3 M.P. Möller, Inc., Op. 6647 (1938)
2786 West 5th Street, near West Avenue (1907-1960s)
II/10 Henry Pilcher's Sons, Op. 1451 (1929)


Brighton Chapel - Coney Island (Brooklyn), N.Y.  
c.1870 etching of Brighton Chapel  
St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church - Coney Island (Brooklyn), N.Y.  
1907 drawing of proposed church  
St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church - Coney Island (Brooklyn), N.Y.  
Church building opened in 1926  
St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church of Coney Island is the oldest Protestant society in the Coney Island–Brighton area of Brooklyn. The congregation can trace its roots to 1875 when a Sunday School was established by the Congregational denomination. This mission was officially named the Coney Island Congregational Church, but was familiarly known as Brighton Chapel. The wooden structure was located on Neptune Avenue, near Courtland Street. For many years Brighton Chapel was popular with religiously inclined cyclists who would ride down the Coney Island cycle path on Sundays and attend services. The pastor strove dilligently to attract the Sunday cyclists and would preach sermons tailored for their benefit. Sometime around 1900, trouble began when some members objected to accepting contributions from Sunday-school children of saloon keepers; other members realized that nearly every child in the Sunday-school was from a family in which someone was in some way connected with the hotel business. Ultimately, the mission was closed and by September 1901 the chapel was for sale.

In 1907 the Rev. Dr. Carl Zinssmeister, Home Mission Superintendent of the New York Synod of the United Lutheran Church in America, founded St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church of Coney Island. The church web site states that the former Brighton Chapel society was reorganized as a Lutheran church. During the following year, Dr. Zinssmeister purchased property on West 5th Street, near Neptune Avenue, and plans were made for a new Gothic church building, as seen in the drawing at left. On the reverse side of this image (Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Aug. 8, 1907) is the description: "46 x 88, seating 350; brick and terra cotta; $25,000; next Easter completed; break ground in 2 weeks." However, the proposed structure was not completed as planned but the congregation worshiped in the basement for nineteen years. Finally, on September 12, 1926, the cornerstone was laid for the (upper) church that would cost $50,000. As seen in the photo at left, the design was altered somewhat. The church was to be completed by late November 1926.

By the early 1960s Coney Island had declined dramatically. Two of its three amusement parks were gone, ocean lovers favored Jones Beach, and many poor people had moved into the area. Under the guise of Urban Renewal, large areas of Coney Island were razed and replaced with low-income housing projects. St. Paul's was forced to relocate and built its present structure at West 8th Street and Neptune Avenue.

St. Paul's has adapted with the changing demographic of Coney Island. As of 2013, its membership includes people from West Africa, the Caribbean, Central and South America, Central and Eastern Europe, India and Pakistan, as well as long time residents of Coney Island and surrounding neighborhoods.
             
M.P. Möller, Inc.
Hagerstown, Md. – Opus 6647 (1938)
Electro-pneumatic action
2 manuals, 24 registers, 3 ranks


At an unknown time, St. Paul's Church acquired the M.P. Möller organ that was originally built in 1938 for Christ Lutheran Church of Rosedale, L.I. The Möller Agreement (Feb. 21, 1938) with Christ Church states that the organ cost $1,745 when new. Known as an "Artiste" model, the organ had three unified ranks of pipes that were enclosed in a case. Wind pressure throughout was 4". The organ was played from a detached two-manual stop-key console.
               
Great Organ (Manual I) – 61 notes, enclosed
8
  Diapason  
4
  Salicet  
8
  Gedeckt  
2 2/3
  Quint  
8
  Salicional  
2
  Super Octave  
4
  Octave  
  1 blank stop key  
4
  Flute          

     

     
Swell Organ (Manual II) – 61 notes, enclosed
8
  Salicional  
2
  Piccolo  
8
  Gedeckt  
8
  Oboe (Syn)  
4
  Salicet  
  Tremolo  
4
  Flute       1 blank stop key  
2 2/3
  Nazard          
               
Pedal Organ – 32 notes
16
  Bourdon  
8
  Diapason  
8
  Gedeckt  
4
  Octave Gedeckt  
8
  Salicional          
               
Couplers
    Swell to Great          
    Swell to Pedal          
    Great to Pedal          
               
Adjustable Combinations
    Pistons No. 1-2-3-4 affecting entire organ
               
Pedal Movements
    Balanced Expression Pedal      
    Balanced Crescendo Pedal      
           
Stop Analysis
     
Pipes
16 - 2
  Bourdon/Gedeckt
97
8 - 2
  Diapason
73
8 - 2
  Salicional
   85
   
Total
255
               
Organ in church located on West 5th Street:

Henry Pilcher's Sons
Louisville, Ky. – Opus 1451 (1929)
Electro-pneumatic action
2 manuals, 11 stops, 10 ranks


The first-known pipe organ in the 1907 edifice on West 5th Street was built by Henry Pilcher's Sons of Louisville, Ky., at a cost of $5,500. The organ was completed in May 1929.
               
Great Organ (Manual I) – 61 notes, enclosed
8
  Open Diapason
73
4
  Flute d'Amour
73
8
  Clarabella
73
 
Cathedral Chimes
20 bells
8
  Dulciana
73
       

     

     
Swell Organ (Manual II) – 61 notes, enclosed
8
  Violin Diapason
73
4
  Flute Harmonic
73
8
  Gedeckt
73
8
  Oboe
73
8
  Aeoline
73
  Tremolo
 
     

     
Pedal Organ – 32 notes
16
  Bourdon
44
8
  Flute [from Bourdon]
16
  Lieblich Gedeckt [ext. SW]
12
   
               
Couplers

    Great to Pedal 8, 4   Great to Great 16, 4, Unison Off
    Swell to Pedal 8   Swell to Swell 16, 4, Unison Off
    Swell to Great 16, 8, 4    
               
Adjustable Combinations
   
Great Organ Pistons 1-2-3
Swell Organ Pistons 1-2-3
Pedal Organ Pistons 1-2
               
Pedal Movements
    Swell Expression Pedal   Great to Pedal (reversible)
    Crescendo Pedal    
               
Sources:
     "Little Use for Churches," The New York Times (Sept. 29, 1901).
     "New Church for Coney," The New York Times (Sept. 13, 1926).
     Organ Historical Society Archives (Princeton, N.J.). Specification of Henry Pilcher's Sons organ, Op. 1451 (1929) from Pilcher Specification Ledger No. 6, p. 129. Courtesy Bynum Petty, Archivist.
     Overton, Charles C. Overton's Coney Island and Sheepshead Bay Guide and Directory ... Embracing Manhattan Beach, Brighton Beach and West Brighton Beach. New York: the Author, 1883.
     St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church web site: http://www.stpaulsconeyisland.org/
     Trupiano, Larry. Factory Specification (Feb. 21, 1938) of M. P. Möller organ, Op. 6647.

Illustrations:
     Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn Collection. Drawing (1907) of proposed church; Exterior (1950).
     Google Street View. Exterior of present church.
     Overton, Charles C. Overton's Coney Island and Sheepshead Bay Guide and Directory. Etching (c.1875) of Brighton Chapel.