Philip Berolzheimer Residence - New York City (credit: Philip C. Berolzheimer)
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Philip Berolzheimer Residence

125 West 79th Street
New York, N.Y. 10024

Philip Berolzheimer (credit: Philip C. Berolzheimer)  
Philip Berolzheimer (1867-1942) was born in Fürth, a town in Bavaria, Germany, where his grandfather Daniel was a pioneer pencilmaker. Daniel had established a market for pencils in the United States as early as 1830. Heinrich Berolzheimer, Philip's father, helped set up the Eagle Pencil Company with two of his sons, Philip and Emil (1862-1922), who immigrated in the late 1880s. Philip served as treasurer of the Eagle Pencil Company, and was chairman of the board of directors of the Public National Bank. In 1897, Philip married Clara V. Seasongood (1874-1953) of Cleveland, and they had two children, Charles and Helen.

Philip Berolzheimer was a music enthusiast, his favorite instruments being the organ and the piano. Philip and Clara were generous supporters of the Guilmant Organ School, located at First Presbyterian Church, and established six scholarships there. The Guilmant School later named Philip an honorary member of the Alumni Association.

In 1908, the Eagle Pencil Company purchased the 10,000-acre Little St. Simons Island, one of Georgia's Golden Isles, from the Butler Family. The company's intention was to harvest the many red cedar trees for pencil production, but analysis soon determined that salt and wind had damaged the trees, making their wood unsuitable for pencil manufactury. A few years later, Philip visited the island, fell in love, and bought it from the company. The Berolzheimer family began to use Little St. Simons as a vacation destination, ultimately building a hunting lodge there in 1917. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, the lodge was enjoyed by the family and their guests as a retreat for hunting and other recreational activities. Seven of Philip's friends from the North visited frequently, and the group became known as the "Eight Bandits." In 1979, the Berolzheimer family converted their island residence into an expanded lodge to accommodate a maximum of 30 overnight paying guests.

In the Spring of 1917, Philip Berolzheimer was appointed Special Deputy Commissioner of Parks in charge of music in the parks of all the boroughs of the City of New York. The next year, on November 7, 1918, he was appointed Commissioner of Parks for the boroughs of Manhattan and Richmond (the Bronx) by Mayor John F. Hylan. During his term he was instrumental in lifting the ban on rollerskating for children, and added facilities for the menagerie known as the Central Park Zoo. In 1928, he unsuccessfully ran for a seat in Congress on the Democratic ticket.

As Berolzheimer became more involved in the politics of Tammany Hall, he received a civic promotion of sorts in February 1919, when he was appointed City Chamberlain of New York, a position his predecessor had urged be abolished as being unnecessary. In June 1922, Berolzheimer proposed that a $15,000,000 "musical and arts centre" be built in Central Park, with facilities for "a splendid opera house with a building on one side to house the musical and dramatic arts and a conservatory of music, and on the other a corresponding building for the fine and plastic arts." A committee to promote the construction of the center was appointed; its members included Otto H. Kahn, Adolph Lewisohn, Henry Harkness Flagler, Frank Damrosch, and other notable leaders of the arts in New York City. While there was a great deal of enthusiasm for such a center, especially from those who wished to build a new Metropolitan Opera House, there was even stronger opposition to its proposed location inside the idyllic park. In June 1924, an alternative site immediately to the south of Central Park was then chosen, whereby the city would need to condemn and clear the block bounded by 58th and 59th Streets and 6th and 7th Avenues. The idea was to create an extension of Central Park—similar to what had been done for the American Museum of Natural History, running from 77th to 81st Street and from Central Park West to Columbus Avenue—with lawns along the east and west sides of the block framing the new facilities. Trolley lines running along 59th Street would be rerouted through underground tunnels, and there would be underground passageways to the proposed Sixth Avenue subway. Berolzheimer's visionary design was never implemented. (A few years later, a new opera house would be included in the great Depression-era building project known as Rockefeller Center; however, even that opera house was scuttled. New Yorkers would have to wait several more decades until the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts was built in the 1960s.)

Philip Berolzheimer was described by Time magazine (May 28, 1923) as
"...a square set, ruddy faced, stolidly teutonic sort of man from the Middle West. He is a rather beguiling person—an instance of that rare creature, a holder of high political office who is not self seeking. He got his post with the present Democratic administration for the purpose of furthering the cause of music, specifically to organize park concerts for the people in the poorer sections of the town. This system of concerts required more money than financial authorities would spend. Berolzheimer was a rich man. He put up the money.
      "He has a deep, inarticulate devotion to culture that is characteristically Germanic. He tells you, simply and seriously, that he has devoted himself to the advancement of music, but he cannot sing, play or compose, and must find his service in the organization of musical affairs; moreover, his philosophy is that musicians are as important people as politicians, big business men, generals or admirals."
Philip Berolzheimer died on May 22, 1942. His funeral was held at Universal Chapel, Lexington Avenue and 52nd Street, at which Rabbi Jonah B. Wise officiated, and burial was in Beth El Cemetery, Queens. In 1947, Mrs. Berolzheimer married Edgar Bromberger, Chief Magistrate of the City of New York, in a small ceremony at Little St. Simons Island. Clara died in 1953, after which Mr. Bromberger gave the 79th Street townhouse to the Police Athletic League for use as a youth center. Mr. Bromberger died in 1956.
  Estey Organ, Op. 1096 (1913) in Philip Berolzheimer Residence - New York City (credit: Philip C. Berolzheimer)
Estey Organ Company
Brattleboro, Vt. – Opus 1096 (1913)
Electro-pneumatic action
Automatic Roll Player
2 manuals, 10 stops, 10 ranks

The Estey Organ Company Shop Order dated February 25, 1913, shows that this organ had an attached console with an Automatic Roll Player, and a Style 460 B case with dull bronze front pipes. A handwritten note in the margin stated, "Add Combination Pistons."

Estey Organ, Op. 1096 (1913) in Philip Berolzheimer Residence - New York City (credit: Phil Stimmel)  
On September 30, 1925, the Berolzheimer residence was the location for the wedding of Miss Helen Berolzheimer to Ransom Yateman Place. The Rev. Dr. Howard Duffield of the First Presbyterian Church officiated, and a short musical program was rendered by Dr. William C. Carl, organist of the same church and Director of the Guilmant Organ School.

Following the death of Mrs. Berolzheimer in 1953, the organ was removed to California and placed in storage. This unique Estey organ was extant as of 2008.
Great Organ (Manual I) – 61 notes (5" pressure)
  Open Diapason
Swell Organ (Manual II) – 61 notes (4" pressure)
  Stopped Diapason
  Flute Harmonique
  Oboe [TC]
  Voix Celeste [TC]
Pedal Organ – 30 notes (4" pressure)
  Lieblich Gedeckt
    Great to Pedal     Great to Automatic
    Swell to Pedal     Swell to Automatic
    Swell to Great 16', 8', 4'     Pedal to Automatic
    Swell to Swell 16', 4'      
Combination Pistons
    Pistons No. 1-2 affecting Great stops
    Pistons No. 1-2 affecting Swell stops
    Balanced Swell Pedal    
    Crescendo Pedal    
     "Berolzheimer New Park Commissioner," The New York Times (Nov. 8, 1918).
     Berolzheimer, Philip C. Electronic mail correspondence about his grandfather and Estey Organ, Op. 1096 (1913).
     "Edgar Bromberger Is Dead at 66; Former Chief City Magistrate," The New York Times (Mar. 18, 1956).
     "Edgar Bromberger Weds," The New York Times (Feb. 21, 1947).
     The Estey Pipe Organ website:
     "Guilmant Organ School," The New Music Review (June 1915).
     "Little St. Simons Island," The New Georgia Encyclopedia.
     "Miss Bromberger Makes Her Debut," The New York Times (Dec. 31, 1922).
     "Names New Chamberlain," The New York Times (Feb. 8, 1919).
     Nelson, George. Organs in the United States and Canada Database. Seattle, Wash.
     "New York," Time Magazine (May 28, 1923).
     "P. Berolzheimer, City Ex-Aide, Dies " The New York Times (May 23, 1942).
     Picard, Sterling. "That Common Pencil & the Eagle Pencil Company," Lion and Pen website:
     Stimmel, Phil: Factory Shop Order for Estey Organ, Op. 1096 (1913).
     "To Link Art Centre With Central Park," The New York Times (June 13, 1924).
     "200 Attend Service for P. Berolzheimer," The New York Times (May 25, 1942).

      Berolzheimer, Philip C. Photos of Estey Organ, Op. 1906 (1913) in Philip Berolzheimer Residence, New York City; photo of Berolzheimer Townhouse; portrait of Philip Berolzheimer.
      Stimmel, Phil. Estey Organ Company advertisement showing Estey Organ, Op. 1096 (1913) in Philip Berolzheimer Residence, New York City.