St. Thomas's Hall - Flushing (Queens), N.Y.
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St. Thomas's Hall

Sanford Avenue
Flushing, Queens, N.Y.

St. Thomas's Hall was a boarding school for boys founded in 1839 by the Rev. Francis Lister Hawks, D.D. (1798-1866), then rector of St. Thomas's Church, New York. Located in Flushing, L.I., the school was centered on religion and was, in some ways, in competition with the famous St. Paul's College, also in Flushing, that had been founded in 1838 by Dr. William Augustus Muhlenberg. Dr. Hawks expended large amounts on the buildings and grounds, which ultimately led to severe financial embarrassments and the closing of the school in 1843. After being charged with extravagence, if not dishonesty, Dr. Hawks resigned as rector of St. Thomas's Church and moved to Mississippi, where he established a school at Holly Springs.

The Chapel of St. Thomas's Hall was central to life at the school. Its chancel was described in the debate of the General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church of 1844, as recorded in The Protestant Churchman, Vol. 2 (Oct. 16, 1844):

". . . a massive altar in the center — on one side a music stand or lectern, on the other a Gothic bronze candlestick with seven branches. . . . There was a choir and a splendid organ, and a gallery at the back; the little boys, the choristers, went into a vestry room, each took down his white surplice from a peg, and ten or twelve or fifteen entered into the choir and chanted the services of the Church."

In his article, "Surpliced Boy Choirs in America" (The New England Magazine, April 1892), author S.B. Whitney states that the choir of St. Thomas's Hall was the first in America to be vested. He described the chapel as "a small building, fifty by thirty feet, with a chancel capable of accommodating some two hundred people."

At some point, St. Thomas's Hall became St. Joseph's Academy for Young Ladies.
George Jardine
New York City (c.1840)
Mechanical action
1 or 2 manuals, 9 stops, 9 ranks

Following the closing of the school, the organ in the Chapel of St. Thomas's Hall was described in an advertisement placed in The Churchman (Sept. 30, 1843) by James A. Hoyt, 34 Pine Street, New York:

"The superior Organ in superb Gothic Case, now standing in the Chapel of St. Thomas's Hall, Flushing, L.I.; built by George Jardine—10 feet 6 inches wide, 18 feet high, 5 feet 6 inches deep—containing the following stops:— [see below]

"This organ was built expressly for the Chapel of St. Thomas's Hall within three years; and any Church desirous of obtaining a superior organ for far less than its value, an opportunity now offers seldom to be met with."

The advertisement did not include the compass of the manuals, but we know that George Jardine's early organs had keyboards with 54 notes, starting at C, and that the treble of divided stops began at tenor G. Based on that information, the compasses and pipecounts are suggested below.

An electric blower was installed in 1918.
Great Organ (Manual I) [54 notes?]
  Open Diapason
  Stop'd Diapason Bass
  Stop'd Diapason Treble [TG]
Swell Organ (Manual II) [54 notes?]
  "Dulciana Swell"
    It is possible this organ had only one manual, with the three stops listed at the left enclosed in a swell box.
  "Flute Swell"
  "Trumpet Swell"
Pedal Organ ("1½ octaves" – 20 notes)
Couplers [none listed]
    [Swell to Great]          
    [Great to Pedal]          
    [Swell to Pedal]          
Pedal Movements
    "3 Composition Pedals"    
    [Swell Pedal]    
     Cyclopædia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature, prepared by The Rev. John M'Clintock, D.D., and James Strong, S.T.D., Vol. IV.—H, I, J. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1872.
     The Churchman (Sept. 30, 1843). Advertisement for George Jardine organ (c.1840). Courtesy Larry Trupiano.
     "Francis L. Hawks," Cyclopædia of American Literature, Vol. II, by Evert A. Duyckinck and George L. Duyckinck. New York: Charles Scribner, 1856, pp. 265-268.
     Ochse, Orpha. The History of the Organ in the United States. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1975.
     Ogasapian, John. Organ Building in New York City: 1700-1900. Braintree, Mass.: The Organ Literature Foundation, 1977.
     Thompson, Benjamin Franklin. The History of Long Island; From Its Discovery and Settlement, to the Present Time. Second Edition, Vol. I, New York: Gould, Banks & Co., 1843.
     Trupiano, Larry. Information about addition of blower to organ in 1918.
     Whitney, S. B. "Surpliced Boy Choirs in America," The New England Magazine, Vol. VI. No. 2 (April 1892).
     Wright, J. Robert. Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue. New York: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company and Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue, 2001.

     Cyclopædia of American Literature, Vol. II. New York: Charles Scribner, 1856, p. 265.