Pipe Organ

A 1,006-pipe mechanical action tracker organ stretches two stories tall on the west wall of the art gallery. The organ was installed in the house at the recommendation of the interior designers.

Renowned Boston organ-maker George Hutchings created the three story pipe organ when the Hill family first moved into their new Summit Avenue mansion in 1891. The instrument is a mechanical action tracker organ with 17 ranks and 1,006 pipes — a particularly distinguished example of a residential pipe organ of America’s Gilded Age.

The organ was used for family gatherings, concerts and parties. Four of the Hill daughters were married in the house, and Hill’s funeral took place there in 1916. Early concerts hosted by St. Paul’s Schubert Club made use of the pipe organ.

While the organ remains beautiful to behold, it has deteriorated significantly over the decades. The windchests are defective, pipes are cracked, and interior leather elements badly need replacement. The pipe organ must be carefully taken apart and its inner workings restored or replaced. Then once again it can be properly heard in all its glory.

Woman sitting at large pipe organ with people looking up at the pipes