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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.