New Experience

    Church History

    Museum

    The Salt Lake Tabernacle Organ: Celebrating 150 Years

    1867

    Sixteen-year-old Joseph Daynes played the unfinished organ with only 700 pipes, 2 manuals, 27 pedals, and 12 working stops (35 stops planned) for its debut at the October general conference.


    1869

    Ralph Ramsey completed the wood casing around the organ, which also received a third manual and 1,200 additional pipes.


    1875

    John Taylor dedicated the Tabernacle and organ.


    1883

    Niels Johnson, one of the original assistants to Joseph Ridges, assumed responsibility of the organ. He added 1,300 pipes, totaling 2,648 pipes and 57 stops.


    1893

    Wilford Woodruff dedicated the Salt Lake Temple.


    1895

    Electric power replaced the hydraulic motor of the organ.


    1901

    The Kimball Organ Company rebuilt the organ with a freestanding console. By December there were approximately 3,600 pipes and 4 manuals.


    1908

    Daily organ recitals began on Temple Square.


    1910

    Columbia Phonograph Company created the first recording of the Tabernacle Choir and organ.


    1915

    The Church contracted with the Austin Organ Company to replace the Kimball organ. This upgrade expanded the casing around the pipes 15 feet on each side (30 feet total). The new organ had 32 pedals and 94 stops.


    1922

    KZN radio (forerunner of KSL) began broadcasting from Salt Lake City.


    1926

    The Austin Organ Company added about 1,500 pipes to the organ.


    1929

    First broadcast of “Music and the Spoken Word” aired from the Tabernacle in Salt Lake City.


    1940

    Renovation of the Tabernacle organ enlarged it to include over 9,000 pipes.


    1949

    The Aeolian-Skinner Organ Company completed the construction of a new organ with 10,814 pipes, 5 manuals, 137 stops, and 189 ranks.


    1979

    Canadian firm Casavant Frères made tonal modifications to the organ.


    1984

    Schoenstein & Company undertook a comprehensive renovation of the organ, resulting in the organ having 11,623 pipes, 147 stops, and 206 ranks.


    1985

    The organ console was shipped to San Francisco for a thorough renovation including new keyboards.


    1987

    The upgraded console was returned to the Tabernacle.


    1994

    The Organ Historical Society recognized the Tabernacle organ for its historical significance.


    2007

    The Salt Lake Tabernacle was renovated and rededicated.