Union Church of Bay Ridge - Brooklyn, NY
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Union Church of Bay Ridge
(Reformed Church in America and Presbyterian)

8101 Ridge Boulevard
Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, N.Y. 11209
www.ucbr.org

Organ Specifications:
III/42 Henderson-Wilson Co (1973)
III/21 Skinner Organ Company, Op. 382 (1922)
II/8 J.H. & C.S. Odell, Op. 329 (1896)


Before there were cars or subways, before there was a bridge to Staten Island, when Bay Ridge was green withlawns and "country" farms, there was a church. Two churches actually – a Dutch Reformed church [Bay Ridge Reformed Church] at 80th Street and Ridge Boulevard, and a Presbyterian church one block south, at 81st Street and Ridge Boulevard. The cornerstone of the Dutch Reformed church was laid in June of 1896. The Presbyterians also laid the cornerstone of their church in April 1896. According to Andrew Dolkart, author of Landmarks of New York City, the architect of the Dutch Reformed church (the front part of the present sanctuary of Union Church) was Arthur Bates Jennings.

Union Church of Bay Ridge (1924) - Brooklyn, N.Y.  
Church with steeple  
Dr. Walter R. Ferris was the Presbyterian minister, and Dr. Charles Scudder was called, with notable brevity, to serve the Dutch. "The secretary mailed the notice, and Dr. Scudder accepted the call." There was a grand total of 32 members at both churches. Since Dr. Scudder owned a little sloop, he would take people sailing, and Dr. Ferris would take them out driving in his horse and rig. "I sail people into church, but he drives them," Dr. Scudder liked to say of his colleague. Though each small congregation displayed ambition for its own church, it soon became apparent that "Presbyterians and Reformed people exhibited the same faith, vision, and piety." In December 1918 a merger was accomplished, and Union Church as we know it came into being. Dr. Horace Leavitt was the first minister of The Union Church of Bay Ridge. There was no Parish House or Sunday School then. Classes met in the church kitchen or in the belfry. In 1924, as the population of Bay Ridge grew, a dedicated congregation struggled to raise money, and the Union Church structure of today was built. A lightning strike destroyed the steeple in 1937. In 1931 the parish House was erected on the site of the Presbyterian Church.
From the Union Church of Bay Ridge web site
           
Henderson–Wilson Co.
Brooklyn, N.Y. (1973)
Electro-pneumatic action
3 manuals, 38 stops, 42 ranks
               
Great Organ – 61 notes (67 mm wind pressure)
16
  Pommer
61
8
  Trompette
SW
8
  Prinzipal
61
8
  Spire Flute
SW
8
  Holz Bordun
61
8
  Spire Flute Celeste
SW
4
  Oktave
61
4
  Rohr Floete
SW
2
  Super Octave
61
       
1 1/3
  Mixtur V
305
   
Chimes  

     

     
Positiv Organ – 61 notes (57 mm wind pressure)
8
  Rohrfloete  
1
  Scharff V  
4
  Prinzipal  
1/3
  Klangen Zimbel III ranks  
4
  Rohrfloete       Sesquialtera II ranks  
2
  Oktave  
8
  Krummhorn  
2
  Floete          
               
Swell Organ – 61 notes, enclosed (140 mm wind pressure)
8
  Gedackt  
2
  Oktave  
8
  Salicional  
1
  Plein Jeu IV ranks  
8
  Voix Celeste  
16
  Fagott  
8
  Spire Flute  
8
  Trompette  
8
  Spire Flute Celeste (TC)  
8
  Vox Humana  
4
  Prinzipal       Tremolo  
4
  Rohrfloete       Swell Unison Off  
               
Pedal Organ – 32 notes
16
  Cornet de Bombarde  
4
  Oktave  
16
  Holz Prinzipal       Mixtur V ranks  
16
  Subbass  
16
  Fagott
SW
8
  Prinzipal  
8
  Fagott
SW
8
  Gedackt          
           
Skinner Organ Company
Boston, Mass. – Opus 382 (1922)
Electro-pneumatic action
3 manuals, 30 registers, 21 stops, 21 ranks
               
Great Organ (Manual II) – 61 notes
16
  Bourdon (ext. PED)
17
8
  Flauto Dolce
SW
8
  Diapason
61
4
  Octave
61
8
  Claribel Flute
61
4
  Flute
SW
8
  Gedeckt
SW
8
  Cornopean
SW

     

     
Swell Organ (Manual III) – 61 notes, enclosed
16
  Bourdon
73
8
  Flute Celeste (TC)
61
8
  Diapason
73
4
  Flute
73
8
  Gedeckt
73
2
  Flautino
61
8
  Salicional
73
8
  Cornopean
73
8
  Voix Celeste
73
8
  Corno d'Amour
73
8
  Flauto Dolce
73
    Tremolo  
               
Choir Organ (Manual I) – 61 notes, enclosed
8
  Diapason
73
4
  Flute
73
8
  Concert Flute
73
8
  Clarinet
73
8
  Dulciana
73
    Tremolo  
               
Pedal Organ – 32 notes
16
  Diapason
44
8
  Octave (fr. 16' Diap.)
16
  Bourdon
44
8
  Gedeckt (fr. 16' Bdn.)
16
  Echo Bourdon
SW
8
  Still Gedeckt
SW
         
J.H. & C.S. Odell
New York City – Opus 329 (1896)
Unknown action
2 manuals, 8 stops, 8 ranks


The first organ for Bay Ridge Reformed Church was built in 1896 by J.H. & C.S. Odell of New York City. In the Contract (Oct. 1, 1896), we read that the organ cost $1,500. This specification is Odell's Style Twenty-five".
                 
Great Organ (Manual I) – 58 notes
8
  Open Diapason  
58
       
8
  Gamba (TC)  
46
       
8
  Melodia (TC)  
46
       
8
  Stopped Bass  
12
       
4
  Octave  
58
       

       

     
Swell Organ (Manual II) – 58 notes, enclosed
8
  Viola (TC)  
46
       
8
  Stopped Diapason (TC)  
46
       
8
  Unison Bass  
12
       
4
  Rohr Flöte  
58
       
                 
Pedal Organ – 27 notes
16
  Bourdon  
27
       
                 
Couplers
    Swell to Great            
    Swell to Pedal            
    Great to Pedal            
                 
Mechanical Accessories
    Bellows Signal            
    Tremulant            
    Balance Swell Pedal            
                 
Pedal Movements
    Piano on Great Organ      
    Forte on Great Organ      
    Great to Pedal, Reversible      
           
Sources:
     The Diapason (June 1924). Stoplist of Skinner Organ Co. organ, Op. 382 (1922). Courtesy Jonathan Bowen.
     Bowen, Jonathan. Stoplist of Henderson–Wilson Co. organ (1973).
     Kinzey, Allen, and Sand Lawn, comps. E.M. Skinner/Aeolian-Skinner Opus List. New Rev. Ed. Richmond: The Organ Historical Society, 1997.
     Petty, Bynum. J.H. & C.S. Odell Annotated Opus List.
     Trupiano, Larry. Factory Specification of J.H. & C.S. Odell "Style Twenty-five."
     Union Church of Bay Ridge website: http://www.ucbr.org

Illustrations:
     New York Big Apple Images (photo: Matthew X. Kiernan. Exterior, 2010). Used by permission.
     Union Church of Bay Ridge website. Exterior (pre-1937).