Shaker Heights
Plymouth Church

Bruce Stevens will demonstrate the two-manual 1844 George Stevens in the Neo-Colonial chapel of Plymouth Church, Shaker Heights on Wednesday morning, July 8.

The organ installed in the rear balcony of the Chapel in 1998 by William Visscher Associates, was built in 1844 in East Cambridge, MA by George Stevens. It has two manuals (keyboards), pedal, and 23 stops. It was probably originally installed in St. Mary's Church in Boston. In the 1870's the organ was moved to First Baptist Church of Groton, MA where it remained for over a hundred years. When First Baptist Church built a new sanctuary too small to accommodate the organ in 1975, the instrument was purchased by Susquehanna University in Pennsylvania where it remained in storage. In 1986, the organ was purchased by St. Augustin Church of Scotts Valley, CA-its fourth home. The organ was completely restored, which included the removal of sixteen layers of paint from its case, and was refurbished when it was installed in St. Augustin Church.

In its 153 years of life, the organ has remained largely unchanged. With the exception of the pipes of the present Trumpet stop, which have replaced those of the original Trumpet stop, all of the pipes of the remaining seventeen manual stops are original. In the 1960's the pedal division, which in its original form probably consisted of only one stop, was expanded by the addition of three new sets of pipes comprising six stops. The wind system was also updated at about the same time so that the organ now uses a self-contained electric blower and one large wind-reservoir. Otherwise, the windchests, playing mechanism, keyboards, stop-knobs, and casework are original.