Through conversation with Mark Herman, a musician and organ broker in Pasadena, I had learned of an opportunity to purchase an organ that was completely restored. It included a three manual scroll type console (what I was looking for in the end) and everything that goes with it. All that would be required would be to wire and wind the instrument.
After careful consideration, I made the realization that the current project would take me at least 10 years or more to complete, about the same amount of money and a ton of my time. This route would allow me to get a functional instrument within a year and that much longer to share it with others. As someone asked me, do you get more enjoyment out of playing the organ or restoring it? Great question, and the answer is playing it and having others find enjoyment from playing the instrument and listening. Perhaps most important, the purchasing route would allow me to spend more time with my family, and less time in our basement working on restoration projects.
The decision was made to purchase it on Saturday, October 2, 2021. The next logistical challenge was to get everything that we currently had in the house out and the new one transported from storage in Indianapolis to our house. A deadline of Sunday, October 10th was communicated to get the instrument out of storage, leaving a week to carry out mission impossible.
On Wednesday, October 6th friends Gary Bieck and Gary Klechowitz assisted in moving parts out of the basement. Second shift help of my aunt and uncle, wife Lindsay, brother-in-law Shawn and neighbor Joey continued where the first shift help left off! Since The Dairyland Theatre Organ Society is actively working on an organ installation at the East Troy Railroad Museum, most parts were donated to their project. By the end of the night, one full pick up truck and covered trailer full of parts made its way to the basement of the Depot building at the museum.
On Thursday, October 7th, my Dad and I, along with friends Devin Deuter and Nick Renkosik and brother-in-law Shawn (who apparently didn't have enough fun the night before) picked up two 26 foot trucks and loaded the parts from our basement that were to be traded as part of the sale agreement. These parts included the two-manual console, tuned sleigh bells, xylophone, master xylophone and a ton of pipes.
Friday, October 8th was the big day, which started at 3:50am when we hit the road for Indy. Arriving at Mark's storage locker at 9:30am (eastern time), we unloaded the parts that went down with us. Broke for lunch nearby and then arrived at the Stutz building (where they used to manufacture Stutz cars). This is the home of Carlton Smith Pipe Organ Restorations. Located on the second floor, this was actually one of the easier organ moves I was a part of (at least this phase of the project...!). Since the building was a car factory, we had use of a freight elevator that was capable of moving a car. This proved very useful as did the indoor loading dock, where both trucks fit nicely. I also appreciated the help of Mark Herman and "local" assistant John Arnold, both of which helped greatly. By 7pm, we were loaded and headed back to Wisconsin... arriving sometime around 11:30pm. I would like to thank my Dad, Nick and Devin for spending the entire day assisting with this part of the project. A very full 20-hour day was a lot to ask and I am very grateful of their help.
Saturday, October 9th I was joined by Chris and Tori Pawlowski, my parents John and Lisa, friends John and son Sean Cornue, Mike Jacklin and Gary Klechowitz. Together, we were able to get both trucks unloaded and returned to Penske of South Milwaukee. Made it back home just in time to volunteer at the railroad as a bartender on their dinner train! With that being said... 23 crates and the console, which didn't fit through the front door remained in the garage.
On Sunday, October 10th, I was able to de-wire (unplug) the console horseshoe, keyboards and back rail. This allowed the console to come apart in more pieces. My wife Lindsay and I were able to carry everything in the house with the exception of the base of the console.... and 23 crates...
On Monday, October 11th, my neighbor Travis, friends Derek and Nicole in addition to their friend Uly helped carry the remaining crates and console base into the house. The organ is now completely IN the house!
Check out this page for project updates!