St. John’s United Church of Christ
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Organ history by Alan Miller Laufman, 1993 Organ Historical Society Handbook:Founded by German settlers of various religious persuasions, no one group is strong enough to form a church, together formed a united congregation in 1831, which became the “German Evangelical, Lutheran and Reformed Church” of Madison in 1840. After meeting for a few years in a frame building, they purchased their first church building from Christ Church (Episcopal) in 1841. They bought the present building from St. John’s Methodist Church in 1872. In 1878 the congregation took up a “special collection to buy a pipe organ”, and in January 1879 the sum had reached $800.00. At this point the minister, August Meuller, and a committee went to Cincinnati and bought a Koehnken & Grimm organ with a hand pump for $1,000.00; it was put in operation just prior to Easter services in 1879. It replaced a “parlor pump organ” they had purchased in 1851 for $300.00. This was more likely a small pipe organ, but of it no more is known.
The Koehnken & Grimm was originally hand-pumped and later equipped with a water motor (note photograph of the water valve above).
Since the 1940’s it has had an electric blower. At some point, the swell shutters were relocated to the back of the swell box, and a solid plywood wall now fills the old opening, making the organ much softer than its builders intended.
Koehnken & Grimm
16′ Sub Bass 20w
8′ Violin Bass 20w
2 single-acting pedals, piano & forte
Balanced Swell Pedal
Calcant (Bellows Signal)
8′ Principal 58m
8′ Melodia 58w
8′ Viol di Gamba 46m
4′ Octave 58m
4′ Rohrfloete 58 w&m;
2 2/3′ Quinte (TC) 46m
2′ Super Octave 58mCoupler (Manual to Pedal)
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“Wie Schoen leuchtet den Morgenstern – Johann Christoph Bach”