The 1888 Hook & Hastings pipe organ inside 906 Broadway, San Francisco is the largest, unaltered 1800s pipe organ in California! While our research isn’t complete, it is likely the only one of its kind west of the Mississippi.
Celebrating 130 Years
It isn’t every day you turn 130! On May 8, 2018 we celebrated the 130 year birthday of the 1888 Hook & Hastings organ with a free public concert. Pipe organs don’t always stick around for 130 years and it is rare for an organ to remain for 130 years in an un-altered state, with all original pipes and the original sharp tuning.
ABC7 covered the event, which included a rousing Happy Birthday tribute. Click here to watch the news clip.
About the Organ
Built by organ builders Hook & Hastings, opus 1380 was originally installed in First Unitarian in San Francisco in 1888. During the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire the organ was fortunately preserved, even though the steeple in the church it was housed in crashed into the building as a result of the quake.
The church at 906 Broadway at the time of the earthquake was lost, including the original organ. When Our Lady of Guadalupe Roman Catholic Church was rebuilt, the organ from First Unitarian was purchased and installed in 1912 by Leo F. Schoenstein. Schoenstein added an electrical blower to supply air to the bellows. No alterations to the 1,589 pipes or mechanical tracker action have been made. The date 8 Mayo, 1912 is inscribed on a plaque that was added to the organ following its move.
Details of the organ, including a complete stoplist, can be found in the Organ Historical Society Pipe Organ Database under the Hook & Hastings Opus 1380 listing.
About the Organ Builder
Celebrated as America’s greatest 19th century organ builder at a time when pipe organs were the most complex man made machines in the world, Hook and Hastings built some of the nations most significant and inspiring pipe organs. This includes the United States Centennial Pipe Organ, built in 1876 to celebrate the first 100 years of the United States. They were chosen at that time because their work represented the finest American organ building craftsmanship. For decades to come, their organs were purchased for public halls and churches. Owing to their early and widespread popularity, the voicing of Hook & Hastings organs became a definitive and recognizable sound represented in the American Classic build of organs. Learn more on Wikipedia about Hook and Hastings.