Church of the Immaculate Conception - Melrose, The Bronx, NY
Church of the Immaculate Conception
(Roman Catholic)


389 East 150th Street at Melrose Avenue
Bronx, N.Y. 10455


Organ Specifications:
389 East 150th Street at Melrose Avenue (since 1887)
III/48 W.W. Kimball Co. (1903); electrified Clark & Fenton (1925)
East 151st Street at Melrose Avenue (1853-1887)
• unknown


Original Church of the Immaculate Conception - Melrose, The Bronx, NY  
Original Church  

The Parish Church of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary was established in 1853 to serve German Catholics in the Melrose neighborhood of the South Bronx. The Rev. Caspar Metzler was appointed pastor, and under his leadership a two-story wooden church building was erected on what is now East 150th Street at Melrose Avenue. This church was dedicated on May 29, 1853. Sermons were offered in German and English.

In 1886, the parish was placed under the supervision of the Redemptorist Fathers, with Rev. James Keitz as pastor. Plans were soon made to erect a larger church directly behind the original building. Designed by Henry Bruns, the brick Romanesque Revival structure measured 170 feet long by 78 feet wide and could accomodate 1000 persons. The new church faced East 150th Street and had a façade with three entrances. Over the center door was a spire that rose 215 feet. Archbishop Corrigan laid the cornerstone on September 25, 1887, and the completed church was dedicated in December that same year.

Over the next two decades additional buildings were added. In 1894, a large rectory was built on the corner of East 150th Street and Melrose Avenue. Next to be built, in 1901, was the school hall, designed by Anthony F.A. Schmitt to provide classrooms for 800 students. A new convent adjoining the church and occupied by the Sisters of Charity was dedicated on April 1, 1907.

Over the years, the demographics of the Melrose neighborhood changed. The Germans moved out and were replaced by Spanish-speaking residents. Today, the parish is comprised of multiple ethnic groups.

Sadly, the tall steeple, an area landmark for over 100 years, was removed due to deterioration. Plans to replace it were never realized.

             
 
W. W. Kimball Company
Chicago, Ill. (1903); reb. by Kimball (1913)
Originally tubular-pneumatic action
Electro-pneumatic action by Clark & Fenton (1925)
3 manuals, 45 registers, 44 stops, 48 ranks









The W. W. Kimball organ was installed in 1903 as part of the parish's Golden Jubilee celebration. As originally built, the organ had tubular-pneumatic action. Unfortunately, Kimball's tubular action proved to be problematic with many of their organs, so the company returned in 1913 to rebuild the organ. In 1925, Clark & Fenton of Nyack, N.Y., installed electro-pneumatic action. A new console was installed in the 1950s by Anthony Porto of Brooklyn.
               
Great Organ (Manual II) – 61 notes, enclosed with Choir
16
  Open Diapason
61
4
  Flute Harmonique
61
8
  Open Diapason
61
2 2/3
  Octave Quint
61
8
  Doppel Flute
61
2
  Super Octave
61
8
  Gross Flute
61
  Mixture III ranks
183
8
  Gamba
61
8
  Trumpet
61
8
  Viole d'Orchestra
61
4
  Clarion
61
4
  Octave
61
   
 
     
 
     
Swell Organ (Manual III) – 61 notes, enclosed
16
  Bourdon Bass
12
4
  Violina
61
16
  Bourdon Treble (TC)
61
2
  Flautina
61
8
  Open Diapason
61
  Dolce Cornet III ranks
183
8
  Stopped Diapason
61
16
  Fagot
61
8
  Salicional
61
8
  Oboe
61
8
  Vox Celeste (TC)
49
8
  Cornopean
61
8
  Quintadena
61
8
  Vox Humana
61
8
  Aeoline
61
  Tremolo
4
  Flute Traversiere
61
   
 
     
 
     
Choir Organ (Manual I) – 61 notes, enclosed with Great
8
  Conical Gamba
61
4
  Fugara
61
8
  Viol Diapason
61
2
  Piccolo
61
8
  Concert Flute
61
8
  Clarinet
61
8
  Dulciana
61
  Chimes
4
  Flute d'Amore
61
  Tremolo
               
Pedal Organ – 30 notes
16
  Open Diapason
30
10 2/3
  Quint
30
16
  Bourdon
30
8
  Violoncello
30
16
  Violone
30
8
  Flute
30
16
  Dulciana
30
16
  Trombone
30
               
Couplers
    Great to Pedal 8'   Swell to Great 16', 8', 4'
    Swell to Pedal 8', 4'   Choir to Great 16', 8', 4'
    Choir to Pedal 8'   Great to Great 4'
    Pedal to Pedal 4'   Swell to Choir 16', 8', 4'
    Swell to Swell 16', 4'    
               
Adjustable Combinations
   
Swell & Pedal Pistons 1-2-3-4
Great & Pedal Pistons 1-2-3-4-5
Choir & Pedal Pistons 1-2-3-4
Full Organ Pistons 1-2-3
               
Expression
    Balanced Pedal - Great & Choir      
    Balanced Pedal - Swell      
    Crescendo Pedal      
               
Sources:
     "Another New Church," The New York Times, September 26, 1887.
     The Catholic Church in the United States of America: Undertaken to Celebrate the Golden Jubilee of His Holiness, Pope Pius X, Vol. III. New York: The Catholic Editing Company, 1914.
     Mahanor, Tali. Specification of Kimball/Clark & Fenton organ via photos.
     Shelley, Thomas J. The Bicentennial History of the Archdiocese of New York 1808-2008. Strasbourg: Éditions du Signe, 2007.
     Twomey, Bill. South Bronx: Images of America. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2002.

Illustrations:
     Casey, Thomas. Interior showing W.W. Kimball Co. organ.
 
| NYC AGO Home Page | Back to NYC Organs List |