St. Raymond Roman Catholic Church - The Bronx, N.Y.
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Church of St. Raymond
(Roman Catholic)

1759 Castle Hill Avenue at East Tremont Avenue
Bronx, N.Y. 10462
http://www.straymondparish.org/


Organ Specifications:
Present building (since 1898):
• Allen Organ Company electronic (2007)
III/45 Delaware Organ Company (1962) – removed (2007)
• II/4 Delaware Organ Company – Lower Church
• Unknown Builder (c.1932)
• Unknown Builder (c.1898)
Original building (1845-1898):
• unknown


1897 photo of original St. Raymond Roman Catholic Church - The Bronx, N.Y.  
Original Church (1897)  
Interior of Original St. Raymond's Church - The Bronx, N.Y.  
Interior of Old Church  
   
The Parish of St. Raymond was founded in 1842 by the Rt. Rev. John Hughes, Coadjutor to the Bishop of New York, and was the first Roman Catholic church in the Bronx. As far back as 1835, Bishop John DuBois had attempted to establish a Catholic church in Westchester Village, but the wealthy estate owners did not want a Catholic church in their midst and they refused to sell any property to him. Finally, in 1842 Bishop Hughes was able to purchase an acre of land where the church now stands. On the property was an old wooden barn that was converted for use as a temporary church. The first priest associated with the new parish was the Rev. Felix Villanis, a professor at the newly founded Seminary of St. John at Fordham, who had been asked by the Bishop to take charge of the Catholics in Westchester. Work began toward the erection of a permanent church, but it was the third pastor, the Rev. Matthew Higgins, who was able to obtain enough contributions to see it finished. The first church was an imposing structure that faced West Farms Road. It had a foundation of stone with walls of brick, and at the front was a wooden tower with an ornamented steeple surmounted with a large stone cross. At the rear of the building was an an attached sacristy to which was later added the first rectory. The completed church was dedicated by Bishop Hughes on August 31, 1945, the Feast of St. Raymond Nonnatus. After the Mass, Bishop Hughes also blessed the cemetery which had been laid out adjoining the church.

By the year 1850, St. Raymond's had mothered nine missions in the Bronx. Due to a shortage of priests and poor roads it was not possible to say Mass at each mission chapel every week, so they were visited in turn and given the best care possible.

In 1865 farmland adjoining the church was purchased by the Catholic Protectory, an institition organized in 1863 for the protection of destitute Catholic children. This property comprised 114 acres with several barns. A building to house 800 boys was constructed and on May 1, 1866 the Protectory moved to Westchester with 400 children. A short while later a facility for girls was opened. Under the direction of the Brothers of Christian Schools and the Sisters of Charity, the children were given an education and taught trades such as farming and shoemaking and printing that would help them in later life. This institution was an integral part of the parish until it was sold in 1938.

After thirty years the old cemetery, which had been enlarged in 1847, was nearly filled and no land was available near the church. The Rev. Michael B. McEvoy, eighth pastor, wished to continue the only Catholic cemetery in this section of the City, and purchased a tract of land called the Underhill Farm, located about two miles away on West Farms Road. The new St. Raymond's Cemetery was laid out and opened in 1876.

  1942 Photo of St. Raymond's Church - The Bronx, N.Y.
  Present Church (1942)
  Interior (1942) of St. Raymond's Church - The Bronx, N.Y.
  Interior (1942)
  St. Raymond Catholic Church - The Bronx, N.Y.
St. Raymond's continued to grow and by the 1890s the old church could not accomocate the two thousand parishioners who attended Mass on Sunday. Although heavy debts on the property for the new cemetery were finally cleared in 1892, it was not until 1897 that the tenth pastor, the Rev. Edward McKenna felt the church could proceed with plans for a new building. On October 10, 1897, Archbishop Corrigan laid the cornerstone for the present church, which was to be built just behind the original church. Designed by George H. Streeton of Brooklyn, the Byzantine Revival-style structure is cruciform in plan measuring 65 feet wide by 146 feet deep, with the transept being 95 feet wide and surmounted by a dome. The exterior is of limestone with light grey brick and terra cotta trimmings. On the front facade are two imposing towers with a richly ornamented triple entrance over which is a magnificent rose window. The interior is beautifully decorated and has side walls and columns of rich red Numideon marble. To complete the church, skilled craftsmen were brought in from Italy and housed nearby until the work was done. The new church was dedicated by Archbishop Corrigan on October 23, 1898.

Over time, the church complex grew to include an elementary school (1908), convent (1928), rectory (1931), brothers residence (1942), boys high school, and an auditorium and gymnasium.

Beginning in 1932, many improvements were made in the church: the old main altar of wood was replaced with one of marble with a Baldachinum, two side altars of marble were installed, and a new organ and modern sound system were added. A new lighting system was installed in 1941. Improvements were also made to the basement church.

In the 1960s, the church was renovated and redecorated to conform with requirements recommended by the Second Vatican Council.
           
Allen Organ Company
Macungie, Penn. (2007)
Electronic tonal production


In 2007, an electronic instrument by the Allen Organ Company replaced the pipe organ built in 1962 by the Delaware Organ Company. Specifications of this organ have not yet been located.
           
Delaware Organ Company, Inc.
Tonawanda, N.Y. (1962)
Electro-pneumatic action
3 manuals, 33 stops, 45 ranks


A new organ was installed in 1962 by the Delaware Organ Company. This three-manual instrument was encased and had a stoplist based on the Orgelbewegnung (Organ Reform Movement).
               
Hauptwerk (Manual II) – 61 notes
16
  Quintaton
61
4
  Rohrflöte
61
8
  Principal
61
2
  Flachflöte
61
8
  Bourdun
61
    Mixtur IV ranks
244
4
  Oktav
61
8
  Trompete
61

     

     
Schwellwerk (Manual III) – 61 notes, enclosed
8
  Rohrflöte
61
    Scharf IV ranks
244
8
  Gamba
61
16
  Dulzian
61
8
  Schwebung (TC)
49
8
  Helletrompete
61
4
  Nachthorn
61
4
  Schalmey
61
2
  Principal
61
    Tremulant  
               
Kronwerk (Manual I) – 61 notes
8
  Gedackt
61
2
  Waldflöte
61
4
  Principal
61
1 3/5
  Terz
61
4
  Koppelflöte
61
    Cymbal IV ranks
244
2 2/3
  Nasat
61
8
  Krummhorn
61
               
Pedal Organ – 32 notes
16
  Principal
32
2
  Hohlflöte
32
16
  Subbass
32
    Mixtur IV ranks
128
16
  Quintaton
GT
16
  Posaune
56
8
  Principal
32
8
  Posaune (fr. 16')
8
  Dolce Bass
32
8
  Posaune (fr. 16')
4
  Choral Bass
32
       
           
Organ in Lower Church:

Delaware Organ Company, Inc.
Tonawanda, N.Y.
Electro-pneumatic action
2 manuals, 4 ranks


The Delaware Organ Company installed a two-manual, four-rank unit organ in the Lower Church. Specifications for this organ have not yet been located.
           
  Organ Gallery (c.1942) in St. Raymond's Church - The Bronx, N.Y.
 
View from Sanctuary (c.1942)
Organ in Present Church:

Unknown Builder
(c.1932)




Sometime around 1932, a new organ was installed in the Upper Church. Specifications for this organ have not yet been located.
           
Original Organ in Present Church:

Unknown Builder
(c.1898)

Information about the original organ in the present church has not yet been located.
           
Organ in Original Church:

Unknown Builder


The original church probably had an organ, but information has yet to be located.
           
Sources:
     Centenary of St. Raymond's Parish, Bronx, New York – 1842-1942. Published by the church, 1942.
     Church of St. Raymond website: http://www.straymondparish.org/
     The Diapason (Jan. 1964). Specification of Delaware Organ (1962). Courtesy Jonathan Bowen.
     The Diapason (Jan. 1966). Delaware Ad with specification of Delaware Organ (1962). Courtesy Jonathan Bowen.
     "St. Raymond's Church in Bronx Celebrates 125th Anniversary," The New York Times (Oct. 30, 1967).
     Twomey, Bill. The Bronx: In Bits and Pieces. Bloomington, Ind.: Rooftop Publishing, 2007.
     Ultan, Lloyd, and Gary D. Hermalyn. Bronx in the Innocent Years. New York: Bronx Historical Society, 1979.

Illustrations:
     Centenary of St. Raymond's Parish, Bronx, New York – 1842-1942. Original church (1897); original church interior; present church exterior and interior (1942).
     http://parkchester.homestead.com. Interior of present church.
     Kelso, Elizabeth. Photo (July 15, 2007) of present church exterior. Used by permission.