First Baptist Church

499 Wacouta Street
St Paul, MN 55101

Builder: M. P. Moller (Arthur Fellows),
J. R. Gould, Steve Lethert, David Engen

Manuals: 3
Ranks: 31
Pipes: 1808
Dates: 1939, 1958, 1962, 2000, 2013
Action: Electro-pneumatic

Notes: The original tracker-action organ served until 1939 when it was electrified (electro-pneumatic pulldowns) with a new console. In 1958, it was completely rebuilt, and in many ways destroyed, since the original integrity of the design was lost due to the replacement of the windchests, addition of electrical unification, and a significant change in tonal design. A second new console was installed in 1962. More modifications were carried out in 2000, further moving the organ away from its original concept.

There are several tremulants and the standard sub- and super- and intra-manual couplers. Note that the original tracker organ scaling and voicing never anticipated these couplers.
-- Information from David Engen, taken from church archives

GREAT ORGAN 8 stops, 10 ranks, 610 pipes
16 Open Diapason 60 [sic]
8 Diapason 61
8 Doppel Flute 61
8 Viola da Gamba 61
4 Octave 61
2-2/3 Twelfth 61
2 Fifteenth 61
Mixture III 183

SWELL ORGAN 11 stops, 11 ranks, 622 pipes
16 Bourdon 12
8 Open Diapason 61
8 Salicional 61
8 Vox Céleste tf 44
8 Gedeckt 61
8 Dolce 61
4 Violina 61
4 Harmonic Flute 61
2 Principal 61
8 Trumpet 61
8 Oboe 61
8 Vox Humana 61
4 Clarion 12

CHOIR ORGAN 8 stops, 8 ranks, 488 pipes
8 Koppelflute 61
8 Dulciana 61
8 Unda Maris tc 49
8 Flute Céleste tc 49
4 Geigen Principal 61
4 Flute d’Amour 61
4 Dulciana 12
2-2/3 Nazard 61
2 Harmonic Piccolo 61
2 Dulcet 12
8 Clarinet 61

PEDAL ORGAN 9 stops, 2 ranks, 88 pipes
32 Resultant
16 Open Diapason (Gt)
16 Bourdon 32
16 Contra Gamba 32
16 Lieblich Gedeckt (Sw)
8 Principal (Gt)
8 Flute 12
4 Choralbass (Gt)
16 Trombone 12
In 1939, electro-pneumatic pull-downs were added, along with electro-pneumatic action Reisner console; work was done by Arthur Fellows, with a dedication concert played by his wife, Mary. Both were prominent in the Twin Cities organ community in the middle of the 20th Century.

In 1958, the original tracker windchests were discarded and replaced by electro-pneumatic 73-note Durst chests in newly constructed chambers. (All three chambers were made largely of 1/4" Masonite.) The Reisner console was evidently retained. The work was done by J.R. Gould. If treble extensions were ever present, they have been removed (although salvage pipes were added to take the original 58-note compass to 61; pedal from 27 to 32). Frank Steinhauser, organist at the church for 40 years, performed the dedication. At this time the wind system was drastically altered. The original organ would have had, at most, two large, heavy weighted reservoirs. It may have been hand-pumped or it may have had a water motor. Today there is a reservoir for each division with a blower in the basement. This gives the organ a very different sound. (The Mankato Johnson restoration at Our Lady of Good Counsel, done by the Dobson Organ Company, restored the original winding. That organ, nearly a twin to First Baptist, has a much different sound.)

In 1962, a new Moller console replaced the Reisner console. It was a memorial to the Brandenburg family. That console is still in use. The original console/keydesk was located in the center of the case (a filler panel is still there). The Reisner console was evidently placed to one side of the gallery. The Moller console is back in the center, but free-standing in front of the case.

In 2000, Steve Lethert made several modifications as follows:

The Great, Choir and Static reservoirs were re-leathered.
The Great Mixture IV was removed and replaced with the Swell Mixture III. The Great Mixture IV (containing some spurious diapason pipes) is in storage in the church basement. This provided a much-needed walkway for tuning in the swell.
The 16’ Open Diapason (open wood) disconnected/removed to the basement and the 16’ facade Diapason was wired in its place. The largest wood pipes remain inside the organ chamber while the trebles and their windchest were removed to the basement. The facade 16’ Open Diapason from the Great (zinc pipes) now serve the pedal as a unit stop.
The Oboe, Trumpet and Clarinet reed stops were sent away for cleaning and re-voicing.
The Viole de Gamba, Salicional, and Vox Celeste string stops were revoiced/re-scaled. The Vox Celeste starts in the middle of the tenor octave rather than at tenor C.
The organ currently has 31 ranks, down from the original 41 ranks.