Ernest M. Skinner in Chicago, Part 2: Saint Luke’s Episcopal Church, Evanston

May 26, 2022
The front page of the November 1, 1922 issue of The Diapason
The front page of the November 1, 1922 issue of The Diapason

Stephen Schnurr is editorial director and publisher for The Diapason; director of music for Saint Paul Catholic Church, Valparaiso, Indiana; and adjunct instructor of organ at Valparaiso University.

Editor’s note: much of the information in this article was delivered as a lecture for the Ernest M. Skinner Sesquicentennial Conference on April 25, 2016, in Evanston, Illinois. The conference was sponsored by the Chicago, North Shore, and Fox Valley Chapters of the American Guild of Organists, the Chicago-Midwest Chapter of the Organ Historical Society, the Music Institute of Chicago, and The Diapason.

The first part of this series appeared in The Diapason, April 2021, pages 14–20. The article focused on the first contracts of the Skinner firm in the Chicago area.

Saint Luke’s Episcopal Church of Evanston, Illinois, was founded in July 1885 as a mission of Saint Mark’s Episcopal Church, also of Evanston. The new congregation’s first services were conducted in Ducat’s Hall. Within a month, a store was rented on Chicago Avenue for services.

In October 1886, ground was broken for the congregation’s first church building of frame construction at the northeast corner of Lincoln Avenue (later Main Street) and Sherman Avenue. The building was occupied for services in May of the following year. The church was consecrated on November 10, 1889, and it would be expanded twice. Saint Luke’s was given parish status on January 1, 1891.1

This building was served by a small organ by an unknown builder. In February 1894, the church purchased Hook & Hastings Opus 1605, a two-manual, twelve-stop instrument (twenty-one registers), at a cost of $1,840.

The parish began construction for the present building in 1906 with an estimated cost of $125,000. Considered by many to be the best design of the oeuvre of architect John Sutcliffe (1853–1913), the edifice was erected in several stages and was apparently modeled on Tintern Abbey in Wales. Sutcliffe, a native of England, was active in Chicago from 1892 until his death in 1913. Among his other commissions was Grace Episcopal Church of Oak Park, Illinois.

In the first stage of the new construction, the walls of the church were built to a height of ten feet, accomplished in 1907. In 1910, the Lady Chapel was completed. Four years later, the nave of the main church was completed to a height of seventy feet. The interior decoration of the nave was never completed. The fifteen-foot-high hanging rood was carved by Johannes Kirchmayer, a native of Oberammergau, Germany, who worked in Boston, Massachusetts. Saint Luke’s Church was used as the pro-cathedral of the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago from 1932 until 1941. The Bishop of Chicago at that time was the Right Reverend George Craig Stewart, who had previously served as rector of Saint Luke’s.

When the first portion of the church was finished in 1907, Saint Luke’s purchased an organ from Coburn & Taylor of Chicago, an instrument that is known to have utilized the case and façade pipes of the Hook & Hastings organ (and perhaps, if not likely, more). The two-manual instrument had fourteen stops. It cost $2,600, less $1,800 for the Hook & Hastings. The Coburn & Taylor was installed temporarily behind the pulpit on the chancel floor, now a part of the south ambulatory. It was used until 1922, and its fate is unknown.

For the Lady Chapel, Casavant Frères of Canada installed its Opus 386, a two-manual, twelve-stop, tubular-pneumatic-action organ, finished in 1910.2

1910 Casavant Frères Opus 386

GREAT (Manual I)

8′ Open Diapason 61 pipes

8′ Melodia 61 pipes

8′ Dulciana 61 pipes

SWELL (Manual II, enclosed)

16′ Bourdon 61 pipes

8′ Stopped Diapason 61 pipes

8′ Salicional 61 pipes

8′ Voix Celeste 61 pipes

8′ Aeoline 61 pipes

4′ Dolce Flute 61 pipes

8′ Oboe 61 pipes



16′ Gedeckt

16′ Bourdon (Sw)


Great to Pedal 8

Swell to Pedal 8

Great to Great 4

Swell to Great 16

Swell to Great 8

Swell to Great 4

Swell to Swell 16

Swell to Swell 4


2 Great pistons

3 Swell pistons

Great to Pedal reversible

Balanced Swell expression shoe

Balanced Crescendo shoe

The need for a pipe organ worthy of the new church edifice

When the nave of the church was completed to its intended height, the Coburn & Taylor organ was found to be inadequate for the much larger space. In early 1920, Herbert Hyde was appointed organist and choirmaster for Saint Luke’s. Hyde was an accomplished musician who had served Saint John’s, Ascension, and Saint Peter Episcopal parishes in Chicago as well as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and had studied with Clarence Dickinson, Charles-Marie Widor, and Joseph Bonnet. Plans and fundraising were commenced practically immediately by the rector, Father Stewart, and Hyde for a substantial new instrument. Fortunately, the church’s archives contain a fountain of interesting letters and documents related to this process.

Negotiations for the organ quickly focused on the Skinner Organ Company of Boston, Massachusetts. Surviving correspondence in the church archives between the church and the organbuilder are primarily between Hyde and William Zeuch, Skinner vice-president. Zeuch had until recently lived in Chicago (his family was still there) and was good friends with Hyde. (The Zeuch family residence at 2833 Kenmore Avenue, Chicago, would see Skinner Opus 424 installed in 1923, a two-manual, twenty-two-rank organ that replaced a 1905 Marshall-Bennett organ.) Hyde and Zeuch referred to each other in correspondence as “Bert” and “Bill,” respectively. Despite the lack of letters from Ernest Skinner, one cannot discount his interest in the design and construction of the organ, as it was to be the largest installation by the firm in the Chicago region to that date.

The first surviving letter is from Zeuch to Hyde, May 13, 1920, noting that Hyde had submitted two specifications, one on May 6, the other on May 11. Hyde’s specifications were created with the consultation of his teacher Joseph Bonnet, Eric DeLamarter of Fourth Presbyterian Church, Chicago (which housed 1914 Skinner Opus 210), and Zeuch. Zeuch felt the second specification was much better, except for:

. . . the lack of a large scale string, such as a Gamba and Gamba Celeste on the Solo Organ. . . . You mention a large scale Viol d’ Orchestre. Could this not serve as one rank of such a string? Permit me to call your attention to the fact that all our Celestes run through to low C (of the manual keyboard) except the Unda Maris and the Flute Celeste. I have a slight personal preference for a Flute Celeste made with a Spitz on the Swell Organ. The scale and voicing of the stops of that name on my organ are of remarkably subtle charm, which I am sure you would be quick to appreciate.

I am with you without reservation on the “no borrowing” idea. I resort to this expedient only on small 2 manual specifications, where it is desirable to have several accompanimental stops on the Great Organ under expression.

For the price tag of $47,950 without casework, this would, Zeuch declared, provide “a perfect specification, and would give you the greatest organ in the country. It is not given to many organists to have an organ built just as they want it, and I congratulate you that you are to have this great fortune.”

Price would be a point of considerable discussion between the church and the builder, as Hyde stated in his letter to Zeuch, December 9, 1920, the church vestry “refuse to have the cost of the organ exceed $49,999.99,” which was a large sum for an organ in that day (nearly $675,000 in today’s currency). In this same letter, Hyde wanted the specification altered to remove the 8′ Dulciana from the Choir at a savings of $580; addition of a Dulcet II in its place at $828; addition of 16′ Violone/8′ Cello in the Pedal at $1,242; addition of Chimes at $993; and duplexing the Harp/Celesta on the Swell for $180; bringing the total cost of the organ to $52,613, without casework. Hyde embarrassingly asks the Skinner firm if they would kindly build the organ for less than $50,000.

A memorandum dated December 30, 1920, indicates that Zeuch had come to the Chicago area in order to meet with key people of Saint Luke’s Church. Between December 9 and the meeting, the Skinner firm offered to build the organ with the changes except the Chimes to be left prepared at the console at a cost of $49,998. The church further convinced Zeuch to allow a 5% discount for cash, amounting to $2,499.90, pending vestry approval.

A contract with the Skinner Organ Company and the church dated January 4, 1921, was signed on January 14 in the amount of $47,500 for a four-manual, 83-stop instrument of 5,343 pipes, Opus 327. (The Chimes were included, a memorial to William N. Cotterell.) Zeuch signed for the builder; Gabriel F. Slaughter, chairman of the music committee, signed for the church. Completion was set for January 10, 1922. The first payment of $10,000 was due on October 1, 1921, with the balance of $37,500 due “on completion and acceptance by a committee of three; one to be appointed by organ builders, one member by the church, these two to select a third member.”

The arrival of the Skinner organ

The blower arrived at the church December 9, 1921, well ahead of the rest of the instrument. It was clear in a letter from Zeuch on December 21, 1921, that the organ was behind schedule:

The organ is in the works and making good progress, tho I am sorry to say it is not yet sufficiently advanced to leave the factory. A few weeks more will suffice for that so that you will soon have tangible evidence of a new organ. Your suggestion to put more men on the work is interesting, if not practical. If you know of any skilled and experienced organ builders that would like a job with us send on as many as you care to. There is plenty of work for them.

As far as being late with our contracts is concerned, we are not the only ones. I don’t know of an organ concern in the country that meets their deliveries as called for. It isn’t possible in the nature of the business. Besides there is another side to the story. Last year we had six organs in storage all completed and ready for installation but held up because the buildings were not ready to receive them. At present moment we have two such cases. If we had the gift of prophecy it would indeed be helpful.

On Christmas Eve, Slaughter wrote to the Skinner firm as to when to expect the organ to be shipped:

Since it takes several weeks to install the organ, and as you may know the Ecclesiastical kalendar is strictly observed, and Lent arrives on the first of March, you will realize our anxiety lest any continued delay might make it impossible for us to open the new organ with an appropriate series of recitals.

The first railcar of the organ was not shipped until April 7, 1922. (Easter Sunday occurred April 16.) In all, a total of twelve railroad freight cars were dispatched to Evanston’s Main Street station, two blocks from the church. The organ was announced on the front page of The Diapason’s March 1, 1921, issue, along with a specification and a picture of Herbert Hyde.

When the Skinner organ was installed in the nave, the action of the Casavant organ in the Lady Chapel was electrified, and this instrument was made playable from the main organ console as an Echo division. Skinner added an 8′ Vox Humana to the Echo. The Skinner main console of four manuals was movable within a radius of twelve feet, situated in the choir stalls of the chancel. The chapel organ had a new console installed for use in that space. In the main organ chamber, the Choir and Pedal divisions were installed at the bottom, with the Great and Solo above, and the Swell at the top.

Installation of the organ was supervised by William S. Collins. Regulating, tuning, and “delicate voicing” was accomplished by Gust Bergkvist. Simplified casework was installed, with the more complex casework designed by the architect Thomas Tallmadge of Chicago’s Tallmadge & Watson created later. As eventually completed, the main façade facing the chancel includes some eighty-six speaking pipes from the Great and Pedal diapasons. A smaller façade in the south aisle is composed of non-speaking pipes.

The instrument was dedicated on Sunday, October 15, 1922, in a service presided over by the Right Reverend Sheldon Munson Griswold, Suffragan Bishop of Chicago, with Hyde at the console. The choir sang Hyde’s composition for the occasion, “O Praise the Lord of Heaven.” In the afternoon, assistant organist Mack Evans gave a brief program. That evening, Hyde presented a recital to the public, which was a capacity crowd.

Mr. Evans’s program was as follows:

Grand Choeur, Guilmant

Prayer and Cradle Song, Guilmant

Prelude and Fugue in D Minor, Bach

Variations on “Saviour, Breathe” and “Evening Blessings,” Thompson

Processional March, Rogers


Mr. Hyde’s program was as follows:

Caprice Heroique [sic], Bonnet

Reverie, Bonnet

Romance sans Paroles, Bonnet

Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, Bach

The Guardian Angel, Pierne [sic]

Slumber Song, Seely

Menuet à l’Antico, Seeboeck-Hyde

To a Wild Rose, MacDowell

Chromatic Fantasie, Thiele

Vision, Rheinberger

Cradle Song, Grieg

Le Bonheur, Hyde


This was the first day in a series of four that included programs that more than filled the church. The Diapason of November 1, 1922, stated:

The new Skinner organ in Saint Luke’s Church at Evanston, rated as the largest organ in any church in Chicago or vicinity, was inducted into service in a manner befitting the size and quality of the instrument . . . . None of the recitals was attended by fewer than 1,000 people and the night of the services under the auspices of the Illinois chapter, A. G. O., hundreds stood in the aisles throughout the performance.

The front-page article included a picture of the console.3

The six other recitalists heard in this series were Eric DeLamarter of Fourth Presbyterian Church, Chicago; Palmer Christian, then of Northwestern University and Fourth Presbyterian Church, formerly of Kenwood Evangelical Church, Chicago, and shortly thereafter at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; Tina Mae Haines of Saint James Methodist Episcopal Church, Chicago; Stanley Martin of Saint Mark’s Episcopal Church, Evanston; William Lester of First Baptist Church, Evanston; and Mrs. Wilhelm Middelschulte of First Presbyterian Church, Evanston.

Monday, October 16, was “Evanston Organists” recital night, with appearances by Martin, Middelschulte, and Lester. Peter C. Lutkin of Northwestern University, Evanston, delivered an address, “The Education of the Soul,” as noted in The Diapason, “in which he dwelt on the need of cultivating the soul through music and art as being as essential to humanity as the training of the mind.”

Mr. Martin’s program:

Suite in F, Corelli-Noble

Contrasts, J. Lewis Browne

Scherzo, Fifth Sonata, Guilmant


Mrs. Middelschulte’s program:

Prelude and Nocturne, Bairstow

Toccata, Grison


Mr. Lester’s program:

Invocation (dedicated to Herbert Hyde), Lester

In Indian Summer, Lester

Venetian Idyl, Andrews

Andante con moto, Bridge

Heroic Overture, Ware


Tuesday, October 17, featured a “Recital by Chicago Organists Under the Auspices of the Illinois Chapter of the American Guild of Organists.” DeLamarter, Haines, and Christian were the featured performers.

Mr. DeLamarter’s program:

Chant de Printemps, Bonnet

Intermezzo, DeLamarter

Legende, Zimmerman

Finale, Sixth Symphony, Widor


Miss Haines’s offerings:

Matin Provencale [sic], Bonnet

Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy (Nut-Cracker Suite), Tschaikowsky [sic]

Meditation at Ste. Clotilde, James

Fantasie on Spanish Themes, Gigout


Mr. Christian’s appearance included:

Dreams, Strauss

Rhapsodie, Rossetter G. Cole

A Cloister Scene, Mason

Scherzo Caprice, Ward


The series closed on Wednesday evening, October 18, Saint Luke’s Day, with a program by Hyde, assisted by the church choir:

Sonata 1, Borowski

Meditation, Klein

Bourée, Bach

Suite Gothique, Boëllmann

O Praise the Lord of Heaven, Hyde (with the choir)

Berceuse, Dickinson

Caprice (manuscript), Seely

Toccata, Fifth Symphony, Widor


For many years, the organ was the venue of many important recital events. It was featured during the 1925 national convention of the American Guild of Organists and the 1933 national convention of the National Association of Organists. It was also a demonstration instrument for the builder, especially as Hyde became the western representative for Skinner.

Mr. Skinner exhibited great pride in the instrument over decades. In The Composition of the Organ, co-authored with his son Richmond H. Skinner, he wrote of Opus 327:

The Diapasons of the Great division of the organ in St. Luke’s Church, Evanston, Illinois, are most satisfactory to me and are of ideal Diapason character. There are three of eight foot pitch; First Diapason, scale 41 [sic], second 43 [sic], third 45. Later judgment suggests that the smallest be scale 48.

The church has fine acoustics and, in their locations, these Diapasons have an indescribable glow and richness, making them exceptionally churchly. All have a 1⁄5 mouth, cut up 5⁄12 their width. This is reduced in the trebles. All are tuned with sliding sleeves. The first, and I believe the second, has a thickened upper lip and structurally is of good weight of metal, including 22% tin. They have a pronounced octave harmonic and no flavor of thickness, nor have they any of the string quality characteristic of the German Diapason. The[y] differ again from the English types, which to me suggest the American Melodia, having little foundation and few harmonics and which M. Dupré calls “Gemshorns.”4

As the years passed . . .

Dr. Thomas Matthews became organist and choirmaster of Saint Luke’s Church in May 1946. Shortly thereafter, and in cooperation with William H. Barnes, organ consultant and author of the many editions of The Contemporary American Organ, some alterations were made to the Skinner organ. The Solo 8′ Philomela was replaced by an 8′ Doppel Flute from the 1889 Roosevelt organ removed from the Auditorium Theater of Chicago in 1942. Barnes ordered an 8′ Trompette from Gieseke in Germany to replace the Swell 8′ Cornopean. (The Cornopean was placed in safe storage at the church.)5

On December 18, 1956, Matthews wrote to Zeuch at the Aeolian-Skinner Organ Company about the possibility of addition of a horizontal trumpet to Opus 327. Joseph S. Whiteford, then tonal director for Aeolian-Skinner, replied in acknowledgment on January 3, 1957. On March 15, 1957, Thomas V. Potter, Midwest representative for Aeolian-Skinner, wrote to Matthews proposing a “Fanfare Trumpet” with several options. The preferred option was installation at the rear of the nave, above the entry door and below a window, for $4,000, including a blowing plant. A second option was installation behind the main altar reredos, which would cost $2,250 without a second blower, or $2,500 with blower. Delivery would be within one to two years.

It was agreed to install the trumpet at the rear of the nave, and a contract was sent to the church in the amount of $4,000, for completion by March 1, 1959. A down payment of $400 was due on signing, $1,080 when construction began, $1,080 when the trumpet arrived at the church, and the balance due upon completion. The reed pipes were harmonic from middle C, and the wind pressure was between 7-1⁄2 and 8 inches.

Materials were finished for shipping to Evanston in April 1958, but a strike by truckers stalled shipment until May 19 as noted in the church’s newsletter, The Parish Visitor, June 1958.6 The stop was first used on June 15 for the arrival of the Most Reverend Joost de Blank, Archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa, for his visit to Saint Luke’s Church. Final payment was received by Aeolian-Skinner on July 7 of that year. Saint Luke’s possessed the first Aeolian-Skinner fanfare trumpet in the Midwest, the fourth created by the builder. (Earlier examples were the Cathedral of St. John the Divine and Saint Thomas Church, New York City, and First Presbyterian Church, Kilgore, Texas.)

The trumpet stop was dedicated September 28, 1958, during a Eucharist service that featured a newly composed choir anthem by Thomas Matthews, “The Trumpeters and Singers Were As One.” The trumpet was named in memory of Joseph G. Hubbell. It is played from the Choir manual, its drawknob replacing the original 8′ Harp knob.

In November 1959, The Parish Visitor announced that William H. Barnes of Evanston, “a non-Episcopalian but a great admirer of St. Luke’s organ and music,” donated a new Chorus Mixture in memory of the late Herbert Hyde, who had died August 25, 1954, at the age of 67.7 The article stated:

Dr. Barnes is a nationally known organ architect and author of the book, “The Contemporary American Organ.” The new stop was built to his special specifications in Holland at an approximate cost, including installation, of $2,000. . . . Through the years, he has done much to keep our organ in good repair, and several years ago he gave a new Doppel Flute to replace an old one in the organ.

The addition of the new Chorus Mixture stop is the first step in modernizing the main organ. The next step will be the installation of three new sets of French reed pipes in the swell division as soon as the necessary funds become available.

The original Skinner III Mixture on the Great division was disconnected and the stop action reconnected to the new Chorus Mixture. The Skinner mixture pipework was removed, and it eventually disappeared.

The 1910 Casavant Lady Chapel organ was discarded in favor of an M. P. Möller organ of two-manuals, fourteen-ranks, playable from the Skinner console as well as a new two-manual console of tilting-tablet control in the chapel. The contract for Möller Opus 9244 was dated May 16, 1958, with completion set for August 1, 1959, at a cost of $16,950. Henry Beard was the builder’s legendary representative for the Chicago region. Wind pressures were three inches for the Great and Pedal divisions and 3-1⁄2 inches for the Swell. The Casavant organ became the property of Möller, but was apparently discarded. (The Möller organ was sold in 1986 to Our Lady of Hope Catholic Church, Rosemont, Illinois.) Funds for the new chapel organ were given in memory of Gabriel and Jessie Slaughter. Mr. Slaughter had served as chair of the parish music committee when the Skinner organ was procured and was a longtime vestryman.8

1959 M. P. MЪller Opus 9244

GREAT (Manual I, unenclosed)

8′ Rohrflöte 73 pipes (scale 54, halve on 20th, 12 zinc basses, remainder spotted metal)*

8′ Gemshorn (Sw)

8′ Unda Maris (Sw)

4′ Principal 73 pipes (scale 60, halve on 18th, spotted metal)*

III Rks. Mixture 183 pipes (“Spec. Formula ‘A’,” halve on 17th, spotted metal)*

SWELL (Manual II, enclosed)

16′ Gedeckt 73 pipes (scale 44, halve on 20th, 24 zinc basses, remainder spotted metal)

8′ Gedeckt (ext 16′)*

8′ Gemshorn 61 pipes (scale 52, 1⁄3 taper, halve on 17th, 12 zinc basses, remainder spotted metal)*

8′ Unda Maris 54 pipes (GG, scale 56, 2⁄3 taper, halve on 17th, 5 zinc basses, remainder spotted metal)*

4′ Nachthorn 61 pipes (scale 60, halve on 20th, spotted metal)*

2′ Prinzipal 61 pipes (scale 72, halve on 18th, spotted metal)*

II Rks. Cymbale 122 pipes (26–29, Spec. Formula “B,” halve on 17th, spotted metal)*

8′ Trompette 61 pipes (2-1⁄4″ scale, halve on 42nd)*



16′ Bourdon 12 pipes (CCC scale 40, CC scale 54, halve on 20th, 12 pipes, ext Gt 8′)*

16′ Gedeckt (Sw)

8′ Geigen 44 pipes (scale 46, halve on 18th, 17 zinc basses, remainder spotted metal)*

8′ Gedeckt (Sw)

4′ Octave (ext 8′)

2′ Gedeckt (Sw)

* stops available at the Skinner console


Great to Pedal

Great to Pedal 4

Swell to Pedal

Swell to Pedal 4

Great 4

Swell to Great 16

Swell to Great

Swell to Great 4

Swell 16

Swell Unison Off

Swell 4


3 General pistons

3 Great and Pedal pistons

3 Swell and Pedal pistons

Great to Pedal reversible

Balanced Swell expression shoe

Balanced Crescendo shoe with indicator light


Great Mixture “Formula ‘A’”

1–30 15 19 22

31–42 12 15 19

43–61 8 12 15

Unison scale 48 at 8′ CC, ¼ mouth

Quint scale 49 at 8′ CC, 2⁄9 mouth

Swell Cymbal “Formula ‘B’”

1–12 26 29

13–24 22 26

25–36 19 22

37–48 15 19

49–61 12 15

Unison scale 50 at 8′ CC, ¼ mouth

Quint scale 51 at 8′ CC, 2⁄9 mouth

Around 1960, in the Choir division of the Skinner organ, the 8′ Melodia was replaced by an 8′ Gedeckt, the 4′ Flute d’Amour replaced by a 4′ Rohr Flute, and the two-rank 8′ Dulcet replaced by a II Cymbal. This work was supplied by the Tellers Organ Company. A Cymbala or cymbelstern of four bells was installed in memory of Eliza C. Akeley. In the 1970s, Frank J. Sauter & Sons of the Chicago region repitched the Choir 8′ Diapason to 4′ and reinstalled the Swell 8′ Cornopean.9 At some point, the Swell Mixture was recomposed, and the 2′ stops in the Swell and Choir divisions were swapped. The organ was honored with the Organ Historical Society’s Historic Organ Citation #161.

In 1986 a restoration of the historic building and its nave was carried out. The project included removal of four-inch-thick horsehair and burlap padding from the wooden ceiling, installed in 1914. The result was a remarkable nearly four seconds of reverberation. Around the same time, the church acquired a one-manual, four-stop, portable, mechanical-action pipe organ from Karl Wilhelm.

Bringing the Skinner organ back to its origins

Most of the alterations to the Skinner organ were reversed in a restoration project by the A. Thompson-Allen Company of New Haven, Connecticut, begun in 1994 and completed in 1998. The first phase of the project included removal of the Swell division for restoration, the remainder of the instrument completed in time for Christmas 1998. Several of the ranks that were removed from the organ and stored in the church in previous decades were reinstated in the organ, namely, the three Choir division stops noted above. The Swell and Great mixture stops were recreated with new pipework.10 All of the original Skinner reed ranks were restored by Broome & Company of East Granby, Connecticut. Thompson-Allen added a General Cancel piston, as the console never had one.

The organ was rededicated on September 12, 1999. A series of recitals occurred in the 1999–2000 year; featured performers included Marilyn Keiser, Gillian Weir, Karel Paukert (a former organist and choirmaster of Saint Luke’s Church), and Richard Webster, organist and choirmaster of Saint Luke’s.

In 2013, the original blower for the organ was replaced. The parish completed a $1.8 million restoration of the church nave in 2016.

In anticipation of the organ’s centennial year and celebrations in 2022, the Thompson-Allen firm returned to Evanston in May and October 2021 for minor repairs. Centennial celebrations began February 25 of this year, with Jackson Borges accompanying the silent film feature of Buster Keaton’s Sherlock Jr. Friday through Sunday, October 14–16 will see a weekend of events, including a hymn festival with Richard Webster and a newly composed work by Malcolm Archer, both of whom will be present for the festivities.

1922 Skinner Organ Company Opus 327, as restored by A. Thompson-Allen Company11

GREAT (Manual II, 7-1/2″ wind pressure)

16′ Diapason 73 pipes (scale 32, 1–29 zinc, 30–73 common metal)

8′ First Diapason 73 pipes (scale 40, 1–17 zinc, 18–73 linen lead, 1/5 mouth, leathered lips)

8′ Second Diapason 73 pipes (scale 42, 1–17 zinc, 18–73 linen lead, 1⁄5 mouth, leathered lips)

8′ Third Diapason 73 pipes (scale 45, 1–17 zinc, 18–73 spotted metal, 1⁄5 mouth)

8′ Claribel Flute* 73 pipes (1–12 stopped wood, 13–36 open wood, 37–73 open metal)

8′ Erzähler 73 pipes (1–12 zinc, 13–73 spotted metal, 1⁄4 taper)

4′ Octave 61 pipes (scale 58, 1–5 zinc, 6–61 spotted metal, 2⁄9 mouth)

4′ Harmonic Flute* 61 pipes (1–5 zinc, 6–61 common metal, harmonic 25–49)

2-2⁄3′ Twelfth* 61 pipes (scale 69, spotted metal)

2′ Fifteenth* 61 pipes (scale 70, spotted metal)

Chorus Mixture IV 244 pipes (added 1959, revoiced by A. Thompson-Allen in 1998)

Mixture III (A-9)* 183 pipes (original removed; replicated by A. Thompson-Allen in 1998)

16′ Trombone* 73 pipes (4-1⁄2″ @ 8′ C, 1–6 wood resonators, 6–61 zinc and Hoyt metal, 43–61 harmonic, 62–73 open spotted metal flues)

8′ Trumpet* 73 pipes (4-1⁄2″, 1–56 reeds, zinc and Hoyt metal, 31–56 harmonic, 57–73 spotted metal flues)

4′ Clarion* 61 pipes (3-1⁄4″, 1–44 reeds, zinc and Hoyt metal, 19–44 harmonic, 45–61 spotted metal flues)

Chimes (from Solo)

* enclosed

SWELL (Manual III, enclosed, 7-1/2″ wind pressure)

16′ Bourdon 73 pipes (1–61 stopped wood, 62–73 open common metal)

8′ Diapason 73 pipes (scale 45, 1–17 zinc, 18–73 common metal, 2⁄9 mouth)

8′ Salicional 73 pipes (scale 64, 1–12 zinc, 13–71 spotted metal)

8′ Voix Celeste 73 pipes (draws 8′ Salicional, scale 64, 1–12 zinc, 13–73 spotted metal)

8′ Gedeckt 73 pipes (1–43 stopped wood, 44–73 open common metal)

8′ Spitz Flute 73 pipes (1–17 zinc, 18–61 tapered common metal, 62–73 cylindrical common metal)

8′ Flute Celeste (TC) 61 pipes (13–17 zinc, 18–61 tapered common metal, 62–73 cylindrical common metal)

8′ Aeoline 73 pipes (scale 60, 1–12 zinc, 13–73 spotted metal)

4′ Octave 61 pipes (scale 60, 1–5 zinc, 6–61 common metal)

4′ Traverse Flute 61 pipes (1–5 zinc, 6–61 common metal, 25–49 harmonic)

2′ Flautino 61 pipes (scale 70, spotted metal)

III Mixture III 183 pipes (original A-9 mixture removed; replicated to a slightly later C-15 Skinner formula by Austin/ A. Thompson-Allen, 1998)

16′ Contra Posaune 73 pipes (4-1⁄2″ @ 8′ C, 1–6 wood resonators, 7–61 zinc and Hoyt metal, 55–61 harmonic, 62–73 open spotted metal flues)

8′ Cornopean 73 pipes (4-1⁄2″, 1–32 zinc and Hoyt metal, 33–56 Hoyt metal, 43–56 harmonic, 57–73 spotted metal flues)

8′ Oboe 73 pipes (zinc, common metal, spotted metal, 1–56 reeds, 57–73 spotted metal flues)

8′ Vox Humana 73 pipes (zinc and Hoyt metal, 1–56 reeds, 57–73 spotted metal flues)

4′ Clarion 61 pipes (3-1⁄4″, 1–44 reeds, 31–44 harmonic, 45–61 spotted metal flues)


Harp (Ch)

Celesta (Ch)

CHOIR (Manual I, enclosed, 6″ wind pressure)

8′ Diapason 73 pipes (scale 44, 1–17 zinc, 18–73 linen lead)

8′ Melodia 73 pipes (1–12 stopped wood, 13–43 open wood, 44–73 common metal)

8′ Dulcet II 146 pipes (scale 75, 1–12 zinc, 13–73 spotted metal)

8′ Kleine Erzähler 134 pipes (celeste TC, 1–31 stopped wood, 32–73 open common metal)

4′ Flute d’Amour 61 pipes (“#2,” 1–5 zinc, 6–73 common metal, 25–49 harmonic)

2-2⁄3′ Twelfth 61 pipes (slotted spotted metal, 1–49 tapered, 50–61 cylindrical)

2′ Piccolo 61 pipes (common metal, 13–49 harmonic)

1-1⁄3′ [sic] Tierce 61 pipes (slotted spotted metal, 1–41 tapered, 42–61 cylindrical)

8′ Clarinet 73 pipes (1–56 common metal, 57–73 open spotted metal flues)

8′ Orchestral Oboe 73 pipes (1–56 zinc and Hoyt metal, 57–73 open spotted metal flues)


Harp (61 bars, first octave repeats)

8′ Fanfare Trumpet 61 pipes (7-1⁄2″ wind pressure, 1–12 zinc, 13–56 spotted metal, 25–56 harmonic, 57–61 flues)

SOLO (Manual IV, enclosed, 10″ wind pressure)

8′ Diapason 73 pipes (scale 40, leathered lips, 1–17 zinc, 18–73 linen lead)

8′ Philomela 73 pipes

8′ Gross Gamba 73 pipes (scale 50, flared 4 notes, 1–12 zinc, 13–73 spotted metal)

8′ Gamba Celeste 73 pipes (scale 50, flared 4 notes, 1–12 zinc, 13–73 spotted metal)

8′ French Horn 73 pipes (7″, large scale, 1–49 zinc and common metal, capped, 50–73 open spotted metal flues)

8′ English Horn 73 pipes (single bell-type, 1–49 zinc and common metal, double-conical capped, 50–56 lidded conical resonators, 57–73 open spotted metal flues)

4′ Tuba Clarion 61 pipes (1–49 zinc and Hoyt metal, 7–49 harmonic, 50–61 open spotted metal flues)


8′ Tuba Mirabilis 73 pipes (20″ wind pressure, 1–61 zinc and Hoyt metal, 19–61 harmonic, 62–73 open spotted metal flues)

Chimes (25 tubes)

PEDAL (6″ wind pressure)

32′ Diapason (open wood) 68 pipes

16′ First Diapason (ext 32′ Diapason)

16′ Second Diapason 32 pipes (1–29 zinc, 30–32 linen lead)

16′ Violone 44 pipes (1–12 bearded open wood, 13–32 spotted metal with rollers)

16′ Bourdon (stopped wood) 56 pipes

16′ Echo Bourdon (Sw 16′ Bourdon)

8′ Octave (ext 32′ Diapason)

8′ ’Cello (ext 16′ Violone)

8′ Gedeckt (ext 16′ Bourdon)

8′ Still Gedeckt (Sw 16′ Bourdon)

4′ Super Octave (ext 32′ Diapason)

4′ Flute (extension, 16′ Bourdon)

32′ Bombarde 68 pipes (15″ wind pressure, 16″ x 16″ @ low C, 1–24 wood resonators, remainder zinc and Hoyt metal)

16′ Trombone (ext 32′ Bombarde)

8′ Tromba (ext 32′ Bombarde)

4′ Clarion (ext 32′ Bombarde)


Great to Pedal 8

Great to Pedal 4

Swell to Pedal 8

Swell to Pedal 4

Choir to Pedal 8

Solo to Pedal 8

Solo to Pedal 4

Swell to Great 8

Choir to Great 8

Solo to Great 8

Swell to Choir 8

Great to Solo 8

Swell to Solo 8

Great to Great 16

Great to Great 4

Swell to Great 16

Swell to Great 4

Choir to Great 16

Choir to Great 4

Solo to Great 16

Solo to Great 4

Choir to Choir 16

Choir to Choir 4

Swell to Choir 16

Swell to Choir 4

Swell to Swell 16

Swell to Swell 4

Solo to Solo 16

Solo to Solo 4

Great to Solo 16

Great to Solo 4


5 General pistons (thumb and toe)

9 Great pistons (1–9 thumb, 1–4 toe)

9 Swell pistons (1–9 thumb, 1–4 toe)

7 Choir pistons (1–7 thumb, 1–4 toe)

7 Solo pistons (1–9 thumb, 1–4 toe)

4 Pedal pistons (toe)

General Cancel (thumb, added by A. Thompson-Allen, 1998)

Couplers Off (thumb)

Combination setter button (thumb)

Great to Pedal reversible (thumb and toe)

Swell to Pedal reversible (thumb)

Choir to Pedal reversible (thumb)

Solo to Pedal reversible (thumb and toe)

Solo to Great reversible (thumb and toe)

3 buttons: Chapel, Off, Both on Great

3 buttons: Chapel, Off, Both on Swell

3 buttons: Great Box to Solo, Off, Great Box to Choir

2 buttons: all Swells to Swell shoe, Off

Balanced Swell expression shoe

Balanced Choir (and Great) expression shoe

Balanced Solo (and Great) expression shoe

Balanced Crescendo shoe (with indicator light)

Sforzando reversible (toe, with indicator light)

Cymbala (knob in Swell stop jamb)


Great IV Chorus Mixture

1–17 15 19 22 26

18–24 12 15 19 22

25–49 8 12 15 19

50–61 8 8 12 15

Great III Mixture

1–18 15 19 22

19–30 12 15 19

31–61 8 12 15

Swell III Mixture

1–22 15 19 22

23–42 12 15 19

43–61 8 12 15


Church website:

Organ website:



1. Newton Bateman and Paul Selby, ed., Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Evanston, Volume II (Chicago, Illinois: Munsell Publishing Company, 1906), 374–375.

2. David McCain, “St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Evanston, Illinois: A History of the Organs,” The Stopt Diapason, Chicago-Midwest Chapter Organ Historical Society, volume 3, number 3, whole number 15 (June 1982): 26–32.

3. “Great Feast of Music Ushers in Huge Organ: Busy Week for Evanston, Recitals Draw Upward of Thousand People Every Evening—Hyde and Other Organists heard on Skinner Instrument,” The Diapason, November 1, 1922: 1–2.

4. Ernest M. Skinner and Richmond H. Skinner, The Composition of the Organ, ed. by Leslie A. Olsen (Ann Arbor, Michigan: Melvin J. Light, 1980), 26.

5. McCain, “St. Luke’s,” 26–32.

6. “Delivery of Fanfare Trumpets delayed by truck strike,” The Parish Visitor, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, volume 2, number 2 (June 1958): 5.

7. “Dr. Barnes donates organ stop,” The Parish Visitor, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, volume 2, number 12 (November 1959): 80.

8. “St. Luke’s to be given new chapel organ in memory of Gabriel & Jessie Slaughter,” The Parish Visitor, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, volume 2, number 7 (June 1958): 3.

9. McCain, “St. Luke’s,” 26–32.

10. “St. Luke’s Organ Rededication: September 12, 1999, Evanston, Illinois,” pamphlet published by St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 1999.

11. “Saint Luke Episcopal Church,” Organ Handbook 2002 (Richmond, Virginia: The Organ Historical Society, 2002): 167–173.



Bateman, Newton, and Paul Selby, ed. Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Evanston, Volume II. Chicago, Munsell Publishing Company, 1906: 374–375.

“Delivery of Fanfare Trumpets delayed by truck strike,” The Parish Visitor, St. Luke’s Church, Evanston, Illinois, June 1958, volume 2, number 2: 5.

“Dr. Barnes donates organ stop,” The Parish Visitor, November 1959, volume 2, number 12: 8.

“Great Feast of Music Ushers in Huge Organ: Busy Week for Evanston, Recitals Draw Upward of Thousand People Every Evening—Hyde and Other Organists heard on Skinner Instrument,” The Diapason, November 1, 1922: 1–2.

McCain, David. “St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Evanston, Illinois: A History of the Organs.” The Stopt Diapason, Chicago-Midwest Chapter Organ Historical Society, volume 3, number 3, whole number 15 (June 1982): 26–32.

“Saint Luke Episcopal Church,” Organ Handbook 2002. Richmond, Virginia, The Organ Historical Society, 2002: 167–173.

“St. Luke’s Organ Rededication: September 12, 1999, Evanston, Illinois,” published by the church.

“St. Luke’s to be given new chapel organ in memory of Gabriel & Jessie Slaughter,” The Parish Visitor, volume 2, number 7 (June 1958): 3.

Schnurr, Stephen. “Organ News.” The Stopt Diapason, Chicago-Midwest Chapter Organ Historical Society, whole number 65 (August 1999): 6–12.

Schnurr, Stephen J., Jr., and Dennis Northway, Pipe Organs of Chicago, Volume 1. Oak Park, Illinois, Chauncey Park Press, 2005: 94–97.

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