The Restoration Committee is seeking funds for the Hamill pipe organ restoration.
WE NEED YOUR HELP!
For information on how to make a donation, please go to the
“Make a Donation” page.
The Urbana Swedenborgian Church and Wedding Chapel housed 2 historic TRACKER PIPE ORGANS, The Roberts Organ and the S.S. Hamill Tracker Organ.
The Roberts Organ is a functioning pipe organ and is used to provide music for many weddings, church services, and special events.
The S.S. Hamill Tracker Organ is currently in need of restoration. A Restoration Committee was formed to raise money for restoration. Donations are very welcomed and appreciated! Please see the “Make a Donation” page on this website.
There is great intrinsic value in preserving an historic musical instrument like the S.S. Hamill Organ.
History of the S.S. Hamill Organ
The tracker organ, built in 1870 by Samuel S. Hamill, was purchased from thePlymouth Congregationalist Church in Indianapolis, Indiana. It was installed in 1884, two years after the Swedenborgian church building was completed.
Money was raised in the amount of $915.92 by the “Ladies Society” of the church for the purchase. Handwritten minutes of the October 29th, 1882 meeting itemized the “Expenses of the New Pipe Organ”. “The contract was for $750 and $5.00 for attaching the motor and the bellows…” Other expenses, including taking down the organ in Indianapolis, “freighting and setting up in Urbana”, brought the total to about $900. Originally, the organ was powered by a hydraulic system. The turbine for the system is still visible in the church basement.
Today there are only two Hamill organs still known to exist. The other organ was restored in East Lansing, Michigan , by organ restoration expert, Dana Hull, who has made several trips to the Urbana Swedenborgian church to provide expertise. She is a member of the Restoration Committee.
The Hamill organ, said to have an especially “sweet sound”, is therefore highly valued by organists familiar with it.
The Hamill served the congregation until the 1970's, when it deteriorated to the point that it could no longer be played.
History of the Roberts Organ
The Roberts Organ, built in 1874, was the first organ donated by industrialist and philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie. It was given to the Pittsburgh Swedenborgian Church. The roof of the church literally had to be raised to accommodate the large cabinet of the instrument. In 1987, it was moved to the Urbana Church. It, too, is a tracker, built by John Roberts in Frankford, Pennsylvania.
This organ requires frequent repair, which is supplied locally and paid for by a fund set up by the original Pittsburgh Church for that purpose. It stands at the back of the sanctuary of the Urbana Swedenborgian Church and is often used for weddings and special services.
Historic Organ Restoration Committee
The committee is made up of local musicians, organ enthusiasts, historians, church members and members of the local arts council . It was formed in 1994 to raise money for restoration of the Hamill organ.
Committee is seeking funds for the Hamill organ restoration.
WE NEED YOUR HELP!
For information on how to make a donation, please go to the Make A Donation page.