Aug 30 2009

The Hilbert Circle Theatre Wurlitzer Orchestral Pipe Organ

Published by at 12:15 pm under News

Circle Theatre Console 8-2009

The organ began as a late production Wurlitzer Theatre Pipe Organ, style 240, three manuals and pedal, thirteen ranks of pipes, seven tuned percussion and twenty orchestral traps. This organ, one of the last made by Wurlitzer for use in this country, was built in 1931 and installed into the Warner Theatre in Youngstown, Ohio. In 1968 the organ was sold to Mr. Harold Huffman who removed the organ and put it in storage at his home in Fairfield, Ohio. The organ remained in storage until 2002 when Mr. Huffman donated the organ to the Central Indiana Chapter of the American Theatre Organ Society, Inc. (CIC-ATOS, Inc.).   CIC-ATOS, Inc. donated the former Warner Theatre Wurlitzer pipe organ to the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. The original instrument has now been enlarged and augmented with eleven additional ranks of pipes to support use in those symphonic works that employ pipe organ in the scoring.

 The Strand Theatre, Shelbyville, Indiana, congratulates our partners at the CIC-ATOS and Carlton Smith Restorations on the completion of the Wurlitzer Theatre Pipe Organ installed at the Hilbert Circle Theatre, Indianapolis, Indiana.   CIC-ATOS is the owner of the Shelby County Historical Society Louisville Uniphone Theatre Pipe organ to be installed in the Strand.   Before work can be started on the Strand organ, several projects need to be completed including the Hilbert Circle Theatre instrument.

 Shelbyville Organ Crew Members David M. Finkel, Steve Frazee, Terry Ogden, Maurice Finkel, Norm Jackman and Elizabeth Finkel were among the volunteers that helped remove the organ from Ohio and transported it to Indianapolis.  The original Wurlitzer Pneumatic Relay from this project is still in storage in Shelbyville along with the Strand Organ.

 Strand Theatre Executive Board Member David M. Finkel was among many who donated their time to the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra during the installation process of this instrument.   Additional professional expertise was provided by Steve Dennis, of Steve Dennis Electric of Shelbyville.

 The rebuilding, additions and installation has been a long process for this historic instrument, demanding thousands of hours of pain staking detail by Carlton Smith Pipe Organ Restorations and their associates.

 Carlton Smith Pipe Organs Restorations – restoration and installation

Carlton B Smith

Justin P Nimmo

 Associates of Carlton Smith Restorations while performing the restoration and installation process:

 Specification and tonal finishing:

            J Clark Wilson – Clark Wilson & Associates


            Dr. John Schwandt

            Martin Ellis


            John Struve, Toronto, ONT

            Brandon Woods – Goulding & Wood Pipe Organs

            Ronald Winter, Indianapolis, IN

            Timothy Winter, Indianapolis, IN

 Restoration and installation:

            David Bottom, Lexington, KY

           Timothy Piotrzkowski, Indianapolis, IN


           John Goulding, Indianapolis, IN

           Dr. Shawn Chase, Indianapolis, IN

          Thomas Nichols, Indianapolis, IN

          Edward Wall, Indianapolis, IN

          Kevin Ruschhaupt, Indianapolis, IN

          David M. Finkel, Shelbyville, IN

Circle Wurlitzer Carlton Smith Finished  Carlton Smith

Circle Wurlitzer Carlton Smith Finished console

Circle Wurlitzer Carlton Smith Finished1

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