From: Mark Bowdidge, August 2002
I have been the proud owner of a 3-rank Wurlitzer for about 11 years.
Currently the instrument is in storage but I am hoping to install it in my
home in the next few years.
While I was in college I served as organist/choir director of a small
Baptist church in Kansas City MO (Roanoke Baptist Church, near KU med
center). Our church secretary was a member of a Lutheran congregation on
the east side of the city. She told me that her church had purchased a new
electronic organ and they were wanting to dispose of the old pipe organ. I,
of course, was interested. I don't remember the name of the Lutheran
congregation but have a general idea as to where it is located for those of
you familiar with Kansas City--east of The Paseo, west of Prospect Ave.,
North of 63rd. street and south of Brush Creek. I THINK it was off 55th
street but can't be sure. I met with the pastor of the Lutheran
congregation and played the organ. The pastor told me at that time that an
organ builder in the area maintaned the instrument for them. I THINK it was
Quimby out of Warrensburg but don't remember. The pastor said that there
was an older gentleman in the church that had a file on the organ. He said,
however, that the gentleman was very ill and was not able to bring the file
to the church. After our discussion I made an offer on the instruemnt. The
pastor relayed that offer to the trustees of the congregation and it was not
accepted. I assumed that was the end.
The organ was given to another Lutheran congregation--St. Mark's on Troost
Ave. The wife of the pastor of St. Mark's was a faculty member at my
college. She stopped me at school one day during Holy week and told me that
if I got the instrument out of their chapel (where it had been sitting for
several months) before Easter Sunday I could have it for no cost.
Apparently the organist had intended to incorporate the three Wurlitzer
ranks into their very small and weak antiphonal organ in the balcony of the
sanctuary. Once they had an organ technician look at the Wurlitzer ranks
(after it had been removed from the first Lutheran church and "dumped" in
the back few rows of pews in the chapel at St. Mark's) they discovered that
there was a siginficant difference in the wind pressure of their organ
(apparently VERY low) and the Wurlitzer ranks (apparenly VERY high). The
technician basically said that it wasn't practical to rework the Wurlitzer
ranks to work on the lower wind pressure (I'm guessing here--was told this
by someone who knew nothing about organs, and I know very little). So, on
Maundy Thursday I built crates for the pipes and on Good Friday I called a
bunch of people who owed me favors (some of whom still speak to me) and we
removed the organ from St. Mark's into storage.