Washington Square Reformed Dutch Church - New York City
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Washington Square Reformed Dutch Church

84 Washington Square East at Washington Place
New York, N.Y. 10003


Organ Specifications:
III/26 Richard M. Ferris (1853)
• III/ Henry Crabb (1841)



The Reformed Dutch Church on Washington Square was formed after the Great Fire of December 16, 1835, destroyed much of the lower part of the city, including the South Reformed Church which stood on Garden Street (now Exhange Place). Members of the South Church were divided on where to rebuild: a part of the society elected to build a new church on Murray Street; the others, many of whom had removed their residences to far "up town," joined their pastor, the Rev. Dr. James M. Matthews, and held services in the chapel of New York University at Washington Square. Dr. Matthews' group purchased a lot on the corner of Washington Place and Wooster Street, fronting Washington Square, and a new church was built from 1837-1840.

The Gothic Revival building was of roughly hewn dark colored granite, and measured 80 feet from the rear to the tower, and 62 feet wide. At both corners of the facade were two towers that were each 24 feet square and rose to a height 20 feet above the extreme point of the roof. Inside were eight large pillars that supported the roof and were attached to the front of the gallery. The height of the ceiling from the floor was 63 feet, making the pulpit seem rather low. There were 10 large Gothic windows below, of ground glass, and 10 smaller ones in the roof. The design has been attributed to Minard Lafever or James H. Dakin. Total cost of the church was $80,000, and the ground on which it stood cost $44,000. The church was dedicated on October 1, 1840.

By the 1870s, the Reformed congregation had dwindled as many members moved to the upper part of the city. In 1876, the society disbanded and the building was sold to the former Greene Street Methodist Episcopal Church, organized in 1831, and renamed the Asbury Church in honor of the first Methodist Episcopal bishop ordained in America. Asbury Methodist merged into the nearby Washington Square Methodist Episcopal Church in 1893, and the old church was demolished in 1895.
           
  Henry Crabb/Richard Ferris organ in Washington Square Reformed Dutch Church - New York City
Richard M. Ferris
New York City (1853)
Mechanical action
3 manuals, 22 stops, 26 ranks




In 1853, Richard M. Ferris rebuilt the 1841 Henry Crabb organ. Ferris added the prepared-for stops and possibly additional couplers; it seems likely that Ferris also converted the organ from G-compass to C-compass. In 1895, this organ was given to the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association in New Jersey; the stoplist at that time was as follows:
               
Great Organ (Manual II) – 54 notes
8
  Open Diapason
54
2
  Fifteenth
54
8
  Stop Diapason
54
  Sesquialtera, 3 ranks
162
4
  Principal
54
8
  Trumpet
54
3
  Twelfth
54
       
               
Swell Organ (Manual III) – 54 notes, enclosed
16
  Bourdon (TC)
42
4
  [Principal]
54
8
  Open Diapason (TC)
42
    Cornet, 3 ranks
162
8
  Dulciana (TC)
42
8
  Trumpet (TC)
54
8
  Stop Diapason Bass
12
4
  Clarion (TC)
54
8
  Stop Diapason (TC)
42
       
               
Choir Organ (Manual I) – 54 notes
8
  Dulciana
54
4
  Flute
54
8
  Stop Diapason
54
8
  Cremona
54
4
  Principal
54
       
               
Pedal Organ – 25 notes
16
  Open Diapason
25
       
16
  Double Stop Diapason
25
       
               
Couplers &c.
    Swell to Great       Great to Pedal  
    Choir to Great       Swell to Pedal  
    Swell to Choir       Choir to Pedal  
            Bellows signal  
           
Henry Crabb
Flatbush, L.I. (1841)
Mechanical action
2 manuals


In 1841, Henry Crabb of Flatbush built a new organ for the Washington Square Reformed Dutch Church. The two-manual and pedal organ included a number of prepared-for stops. The organ was described as "very elegant; and the organ loft is raised some eight feet above the back of the gallery, appearing somewhat like a second gallery." Specifications of this organ have not yet been located.
           
Sources:
     A Picture of New-York in 1846; With a Short Account of Places in its Vicinity; Designed as a Guide to Citizens and Strangers: with Numerous Engravings, and a Map of the City. New-York: C.S. Francis & Co., 1846.
     "Asbury Church Abandoned," The New York Times (Oct. 9, 1893).
     Dolkart, Andrew S. and Matthew A. Postal. Guide to New York City Landmarks (Third Edition). New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 2004.
     Folpe, Emily Kies. It Happened on Washington Square, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002.
     Nelson, George. Organs in the United States and Canada Database. Seattle, Wash.
     Speller, John. "Henry Crabb: An Ancient Tradition of Organbuilding Moves from Devonshire to New York," The Tracker (43:3, 1999): 14.

Illustrations:
     "Organ Scrapbook" in The New-York Historical Society. Undated photo of Henry Crabb / Richard Ferris organ. Courtesy Larry Trupiano.
     Unknown Artist. Engraving of Washington Square Reformed Dutch Church.