Hedding Methodist Episcopal Church

337 East 17th Street
New York, N.Y. 10003

Organ Specifications:
II/17 J.H. & C.S. Odell, Op. 8 (1861)
• II/14 Carhart & Needham
• II/30 George Jardine (1837); inst. (1850)

In May 1848, the Ladies Mission Society founded a mission on Seventeenth Street, between First and Second Avenues near Stuyvesant Square. At the time, the area was far uptown and success of the mission was uncertain. In 1849, the mission became the Hedding Methodist Episcopal Church, named for the Rev. Elijah Hedding (1780-1852), a prominent Methodist bishop. Within a few years the neighborhood was developed as city residents continued their northward migration and the society gained financial strength. On December 6, 1852, the cornerstone was laid for a new church, described as "a substantial brick edifice, with stone front, 55 feet by 85 deep." The imposing Neoclassical building could accomodate 1,500 persons and was dedicated in 1854.

Hedding Methodist disbanded in 1918 and the site was acquired by the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, a Catholic organization.
J.H. & C.S. Odell
New York City – Opus 8 (1861)
Mechanical action
2 manuals, 15 stops, 17 ranks

The following specification for "17th St. M.E. Church, New York City" was recorded (April 15, 1918) by Louis F. Mohr & Co., and organ service firm in the area. Mohr noted that manuals had 54 pipes [keys] and the pedal had 25 pipes. The painted oak case measured 13 feet 8 inches wide by 11 feet 10 inches deep by 18 feet high and had 17 front pipes in gold. Mohr's typed sheet had a handwritten addition: "Taken down 6/24."

An internet search found a four-page booklet published in 1862 with the text: "Grand concert and organ exhibition: A new organ, built by J.H. & C.S. Odell, No. 163 Seventh-Avenue, New-York, will be exhibited at the Hedding Methodist Episcopal Church (Dr. Abel Stevens, pastor) 17th-Street, between 1st and 2nd Avenues, on Friday evening, January 31, 1862." No further information about this booklet is available.
Great Organ (Manual I) – 54 keys
  Open Diapason  
2 2/3
  St. Diapason Treble  
  St. Diapason Bass       Sesquialtera (3 ranks?)  


Swell Organ (Manual II) – 54 keys, enclosed
  Open Diapason  
  Principal [Treble]  
  St. Diapason  
  Principal (Choir) [Bass]  
  St. Diapason Bass  


Pedal Organ – 25 keys
  Double Open Diapason
    Great to Pedal      
    Swell to Pedal      
    Swell to Great      
Pedal Movements
    Balanced Swell Pedal          
Carhart & Needham
New York City
Mechanical action
2 manuals, 14 stops

According to the American Musical Directory of 1861, this organ had "2 banks keys, 14 stops (sets of reeds), 1½ octaves pedals" and was "Built by Carhart & Needham, under the supervision of Dr. Ringer [organist of the church]." It is known that Carhart & Needham manufactured reed organs and melodians. No further information has been found on this organ.
  George Jardine organ (1837) in Hedding M.E. Church - New York City (The New-York Recorder)
George Jardine
New York City (1837); inst. (c.1852)
Mechanical action
2 manuals, 30 stops

The first organ for Hedding M.E. Church was built by George Jardine in 1837 for the First Presbyterian Church of Jersey City, N.J. However, before setting up the organ in the church, Jardine exhibited the organ in the American Institute Fair of 1838 that took place in Niblo's Garden, New York City, where it won the gold medal. In 1850, the Jersey City church was torn down and the organ was sold to the Hedding M.E. Society, who had it installed in the rear gallery. At some point the organ was moved to the front of the church and installed behind the platform, as show in the image at right. Specifications of this organ have not yet been located.
     American Musical Directory. New York: Thomas Hutchinson, 1861.
     "An Antique Organ," The New-York Recorder (date unknown). Background and description of George Jardine organ. Courtesy Larry Trupiano.
     "Birthday of a Church," The New York Times (Nov. 10, 1884).
     Dunlap, David W. From Abyssinian to Zion: A Guide to Manhattan's Houses of Worship. New York: Columbia University Press, 2004.
     "Grand Concert and Organ Exhibition: A New Organ, Built by J.H. & C.S. Odell...," s.n. 1862.
     "Laying the Corner Stone of a New Church," The New York Times (Dec. 8, 1852).
     Mohr, Louis F. & Co. Specifications (Apr. 4, 1918) of J.H. & C.S. Odell organ, Op. 8 (c.1861). Courtesy Larry Trupiano.

     The New-York Recorder (date unknown). Exterior.