1909 Postcard of The Congregational Church in Flushing (Queens), New York
  1909 postcard Congregational Church in Flushing
First Congregational Church

Roosevelt Avenue
Flushing (Queens), N.Y. 11354


Organ Specifications:
III/27 Austin Organs Inc., Op. 2164 (1951)
II/21 J.H. & C. S. Odell & Co., Op. 354 (1898)
• William H. Davis (1875)


In 1851, a number of persons withdrew their membership from the Protestant Reformed Dutch Church of Flushing and joined with others in forming the first Congregational Church of Flushing. The first church was located where the high-rise Flushing House retirement home is now located, just across the street from the Reformed Church. In 1974, one hundred and twenty-three years after they split, the two congregations merged back together and formed The Bowne Street Community Church – associated with both the United Church of Christ and the Reformed Church in America. Shortly after the two congregations had started meeting together but before the final incorporation of The Bowne Street Community Church, the Congregational Church was destroyed by fire on December 23, 1970. The reason the two churches merged was the changing character of Flushing. During the 1930s through the 1950s, the neighborhood had been predominantly white Anglo-Saxon Protestant and both churches had large, active congregations. During the sixties and seventies, Flushing began to become home to what is now one of the largest Asian populations in the United States. The resulting decline in membership of both congregations was the stimulus for the merger.

See also the Bowne Street Community Church.
           
Austin Organs Inc.
Hartford, Conn. – Opus 2164 (1951)
Electro-pneumatic action
3 manuals, 31 stops, 27 ranks


The last organ to be installed in the First Congregational Church was the principal feature of the church's centennial celebration in 1951. It was given as memorial to the Rev. George Drew Egbert, minister of the church for nearly a third of its existence. Built by Austin Organs of Hartford, Conn., the three-manual organ was installed behind a case that extended across the east end of the sanctuary. Frank Cunkle of New York City was the organist and musical director at the time. This organ burned with the church in 1970.
               
Great Organ (Manual II) – 61 notes
8
  Open Diapason
68
2 2/3
  Twelfth
61
8
 
Diapason Conique
preparation
2
  Fifteenth
61
8
  Harmonic Flute
68
    Mixture III ranks
183
4
  Octave
68
   
Chimes  
               
Swell Organ (Manual III) – 61 notes, enclosed
8
  Geigen
68
4
  Fugara
68
8
  Melodia
68
4
  Chimney Flute
68
8
  Salicional
68
8
  Trumpet
68
8
  Voix Celeste
68
4
  Clarion
68
8
  Dolce
68
8
 
Vox Humana
preparation
8
  Dolce Celeste [TC]
56
    Tremolo  
               
Choir Organ (Manual I) – 61 notes, enclosed
8
  Gemshorn
68
1 3/5
  Tierce
61
8
  Bourdon
68
8
  Clarinet
68
4
  Flute
68
4
  English Horn
68
2 2/3
  Nasard
61
    Tremolo  
2
  Block Flöte
61
       
               
Pedal Organ – 32 notes
16
  Open Diapason [unit]
56
8
  Gedeckt
CH
16
  Gemshorn [ext. CH]
12
4
  Super Octave [Op. Diap.]
16
  Gedeckt [ext. CH]
12
16
  Trumpet [ext. SW]
12
8
  Octave [Op. Diap.]
       
           
J.H. & C.S. Odell & Company
New York City – Opus 354 (1898)
Tubular-pneumatic action
2 manuals, 19 stops, 21 ranks

In March 1898, the church sanctuary was closed for a thorough renovation costing $17,000. When completed, the redecorated church enjoyed new stained glass windows, pews and chancel furnishings. An article in The Brooklyn Eagle (Nov. 20, 1898) described the new organ:
Flushing, L.I., November 19—"The new $6,000 organ which has just been installed in the First Congregational Church here will be heard for the first time to-morrow, when special services will be held. The pastor, the Rev. John Abbott French, will officiate. An excellent programme of music has been arranged for this occasion by James W. Treadwell, choirmaster and organist of the church. The new organ was built by J.H. & C.S. Odell & Co. of Manhattan, and will be operated by the pneumatic system which permits the use of any desired number of mechanical accessories, and of all the resources of the organ, without changing the resistance of the keys. The keyboard stands at some distance in front and to one side of the organ, the pipes, sliders, etc., being operated by means of 200 tubes of block tin connecting each manual or pedal key and draw stop of the console with various parts of the organ. There are in all 1,188 speaking pipes, controlled by 19 draw stops, and various mechanical accessories. The organ is blown by a water motor.

"The front of the organ extends entirely across the new arched recess behind the pulpit, a width of 25 feet. The case is of oak, and the front pipes are finished in gold and silver tones. The diapason tone of this organ is full, rich and mellow."
The specifications for the Odell organ were recorded by Lynnwood Farnam (1885-1930), noted concert organist of the early 20th century, who kept "organ notebooks" with details of various organs he played or visited. Farnam included these comments: "All stops go 'through' " and "Reeds and mixtures unpleasant, otherwise effective."
               
Great Organ (Manual I) – 61 notes
8
  Open Diapason
61
4
  Harmonic Flute
61
8
  Gamba
61
4
  Principal
61
8
  Dulciana
61
2
  Fifteenth
61
8
  Melodia
61
   
Chimes [sep. enc.]
20 tubes
               
Swell Organ (Manual II) – 61 notes, enclosed
16
  Bourdon
61
4
  Rohr Flöte
61
8
  Open Diapason
61
    Dolce Cornet III ranks
183
8
  Salicional
61
8
  Cornopean
61
8
  Aeoline
61
8
  Oboe
61
8
  Stopped Diapason
61
       
               
Pedal Organ – 30 notes
16
  Open Diapason
30
8
  Violoncello
30
16
  Bourdon
30
       
               
Couplers
    Swell to Pedal       Tremulant  
    Great to Pedal       Bellows Signal  
    Swell to Great 8', 4'          
               
Pedal Movements
    2 composition pedals to Swell   Tremulant
    2 composition pedals to Great   Swell to Great Reversible
    Balanced swell-pedal to Swell   Great to Pedal Reversible
    Balanced swell-pedal to Chimes   Sforzando
    Balanced crescendo pedal    
           
William H. Davis
New York City (1875)
Mechanical action


The first known organ in this church was built in 1875 by William H. Davis of New York City. Specifications for this organ have not yet been located.
           
Sources:
     Farnam, Lynnwood. "Organ Notebook" page with specifications of J.H. & C.S. Odell organ, Op. 354. John de Lancie Library, The Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia; Sally Branca, archivist. Courtesy Jonathan Bowen.
     "Flushing Church Orders Three-Manual From Austin," The Diapason (Jan. 1951). Stoplist of Austin Organ, Op. 2164 (1951). Courtesy Jeff Scofield.
     Ochse, Orpha. Austin Organs. Richmond: The Organ Historical Society, 2001.
     "Two New Organs to be Dedicated in Flushing," The Brooklyn Eagle (Nov. 20, 1898).

Illustration:
     eBay.com. 1909 postcard of the Congregational Church of Flushing.