Annual Tulip Festival Street Organ

(portable on wheels)
Orange City, IA 51041

Builder: Chas. Marenghi & Cie, Paris, 1909. Rebuilt/restored by Dobson Organs in 2012.
Keys: 67 (originally 79)
Ranks: Unknown
Action: player mechanism

Notes: This unusual instrument was built by Charles Marenghi & Cie. of Paris, France. It was originally constructed as a dance organ of 79 keys. Dance organs eventually fell out of fashion, and the instrument was converted to a street organ by the firm of Jacques Minning of Rotterdam (Netherlands), who reduced in size to its present 67-key configuration. ...the street organ had been shipped to Philadelphia in 1950 to furnish entertainment at the Netherlands Trade Fair. After the NTF, transportation costs precluded the instrument’s shipment back to the Netherlands, so fair officials decided to dispose of it. Harry Van Pelt, a professional actor from the Netherlands, who with his wife had just completed a three-day stand at the Orange City Tulip Festival, learned of the organ’s availability and made a call to the Orange City Chamber of Commerce. Within two hours of that phone call, the transaction to purchase the instrument had been completed and a check was on its way to Philadelphia. At the time, this was only the second known Dutch street organ in the United States, and the only one in playing condition. Dobson’s work on the instrument includes restoration of the components that allow it to function: hand cranking mechanism, keyframe, windchest, register box, damaged or missing pipework, and animated figures.

Interim repairs will be carried out on the instrument’s case until full restoration efforts can be funded.

Dobson factory and Organ Historical Society as of 2012.