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Grace & St. Peter's Episcopal Church, Baltimore, MD

Historic Church And Historic Organ

Downtown Baltimore's Grace and St. Peter's Episcopal Church is a beautiful example of churches built in the Victorian period. It houses a pipe organ which was built by what was then one of the top builders in the country, Roosevelt Pipe Organ Builders, run by two brothers who were cousins of Theodore Roosevelt.

The organ is a wonderful example of late 19th century American organ building. It has a very ornamental case with stenciled facade pipes. In 1922, and again in 1955, the organ was rebuilt, keeping all the Roosevelt pipes and adding more.

Scope Of The Rebuild Project

In 1997, the church began a major restoration of the building and the organ was included. Lewis & Hitchcock, Inc., pipe organ builders headquartered in Virginia, was engaged to restore and improve the pipe organ. Their work, which is ongoing, includes:

  • Installing a Solid State Switching System;

  • Cleaning the organ, including all the pipework;

  • Releathering many parts of the action, making it reliable once more;

  • Moving some of the original Roosevelt pipes forward to a position where they can be heard to full effect.

  • Tonal restoration work which will bring its voicing closer to the original sound of the Roosevelt organ.

Highlights

The work on the organ will be completed in late Fall, 1998. The church is planning a memorial service for the two well-known local organists who played the organ, both of whom died within the past few years.

Lewis & Hitchcock, Inc. has been building and restoring pipe organs since 1915. They have worked on pipe organs in Baltimore and throughout the Eastern United States.

John Marks is the church organist. He may be reached at Grace & St. Peter's Church school at 410-539-1395.

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