Grace Episcopal Church's Organ
Our organ's history began in a way with one Jacob Esty (born 1814 in Hinsdale, New Hampshire, died 1890), who ran away from an orphanage to Worcester, Massachusetts, where he learned the plumbing trade. He arrived in Brattleboro, Vermont in 1835 at age 21 to work in a plumbing shop which he soon bought and then began a long career as a successful businessman. By the 1840s some of the earliest melodeon makers in New England had established themselves in Brattleboro, and Jacob Estey saw the manufacturing and sale of these instruments, later known as reed organs, as a new business opportunity. In 1855, Estey organized the first manufacturing company to bear his name, Estey & Green, which was followed by Estey & Company; J. Estey & Company; Estey Organ Company; and finally Estey Organ Corporation. The company went out of business in 1960.
Estey became the largest and best known manufacturer of reed organs in the world, building more than 520,000 instruments, all of which carried the inscription of "Brattleboro, Vt. USA". In 1901, shortly before our church purchased one, Estey Organ Company embarked on the manufacture of pipe organs, and became one of the largest pipe organ manufacturers in America. It built more than 3200 pipe organs across the USA, even shipping some abroad, before 1960. The company provided organs for many important locations, including New York City's Capital Theatre, the Sacramento, CA Municipal Auditorium, and Henry Ford's home in Dearborn, Michigan.
In 1906 Grace Church installed an Estey Pipe Organ, a gift from John C. Latham, Jr., in memory of his mother, Virginia. The cost then was $2,700. New today it would cost about $250,000.
In 2009 the instrument was completely rebuilt by the Milner Organ Company of Eaglesville, Tennessee. There are over 850 pipes, 15 ranks with two manual and one pedal keyboard. The largest pipes are wooden and about ten feet long.