Highbridge Community Church - Bronx, N.Y. (photo: © Emilio Guerra)
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Union Reformed Church of Highbridge
(Reformed Church in America)

1272 Ogden Avenue between 168th and 169th Streets
Bronx, N.Y. 10452

Organ Specifications:
Second building (1888-2005)
II/11 J.H. & C.S. Odell, Op. 263 (1888)
First building (1866-1888)
• unknown


The Union Reformed Church of Highbridge had roots going back to 1860 when a religious society was established to serve Protestant residents of Highbridgeville, a neighborhood along the Harlem River to the east of the High Bridge that brought fresh water to New York City from the Croton Aqueduct system. This neighborhood was originally settled by Irish workers who constructed the aqueduct, bridge and railroad along the river. The Protestant society built a chapel in 1866, and in 1874 the congregation was organized as the Union Reformed Church of Highbridge.

By the mid-1880s, the congregation had flourished and plans were made for a larger church structure. Designed by Alfred E. Barlow in the Richardsonian Romanesque style, the new church was built between 1887 and 1888 by D.C. Weeks & Son of New York City. The one-story structure is constructed of rock-faced gneiss ashlar with red sandstone trim, and features a taller square bell tower at the southeast corner. At the east end of the building, where the altar is located, there is a stained-glass rose window manufactured by the Tiffany Glass Co. in 1889. The completed church was dedicated on Thursday evening, December 6, 1888.

The Union Reformed Church disbanded in 2005.

Since January 2006, the building has been home to the Highbridge Community Church, a congregation founded by the Fordham Manor Reformed Church.

In November 2010, the building was designated a landmark by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.
   
J.H. & C.S. Odell & Co.
New York City – Opus 263 (1888)
Mechanical action
2 manuals, 11 stops, 11 ranks


On December 20, 1888, an Agreement for a new organ was signed by J.H. & C.S. Odell and the trustees of the Union Reformed Church of Highbridge, N.Y. Odell provided their "Size No. 8" organ that had 18 registers and 10 stops, playable from two manuals of 58 notes each and a pedal of 27 notes. The organ cost $1,600 and was to be set up and complete on or before April 15, 1889. A handwritten note on the specification sheet states that an Aeoline 8' was added later.

The fate of this organ is unknown.
               
Great Organ (Manual I) – 58 notes
8
  Open Diapason
58
8
  Melodia (TC)
46
8
  Dulciana
58
4
  Octave
58
8
  Unison Bass (wood)
12
2
  Fifteenth
58
               
Swell Organ (Manual II) – 58 notes, enclosed
8
  Viola (TC)
46
4
  Flute
58
8
  St. Diapason Bass (wood)
12
8
  Oboe (TC)
46
8
  Stopped Diapason (TC)
46
  Tremolo
8
  Aeolian [added later]
58?
       
               
Pedal Organ – 27 notes
16
Bourdon (wood)
27
   
               
Mechanical Registers
    Swell to Great (coupler)       Bellows Signal  
    Swell to Pedal (coupler)       Balance Swell Pedal
    Great to Pedal (coupler)          
   
Sources:
     "Church Dedication at High Bridge," The New York Times (Dec. 7, 1888).
     Gasero, Russell L., ed. Historical Directory of the Reformed Church in America, 1628–1992.
     Hermalyn, Gary and Robert Kornfeld. Landmarks of The Bronx. Bronx, NY: Bronx Historical Society, 1989.
     "New Union Reformed Church," The New York Times (Dec. 2, 1888).
     New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission Press Release No. 10-13 (Nov. 16, 2010).
     Trupiano, Larry. Factory Contract and Specifications of J.H. & C.S. Odell organ, Op. 263 (1888).

Illustrations:
     New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission Press Release (Nov. 16, 2010), No. 10-13. Exterior.