First Unitarian Church

 Image by Strode-Eckert Photography

Image by Strode-Eckert Photography

Portland, Oregon

II / 22 stops • 21 ranks
Restoration and rebuild of Hutchings-Plaisted, c. 1873

The rebuilt and enlarged Hutchings-Plaisted organ now installed in Portland’s First Unitarian Church was introduced to the public in a dedication recital by Marvin Mills of the National City Christian Church in Washington, DC on November 17, 2001. A second dedicatory concert featuring the church’s choir, pianist, handbell ensemble and organist Joe O’Donnell was held March 2, 2002.

Work on the instrument occupied the Bond shop for much of the summer of 2001. Installation began on October 8 and the organ was first used at worship on Sunday, October 21. Bond’s efforts included a thorough mechanical restoration, including re-tabling of the manual windchests, as well as design and construction of new windchests and action for the pedal stops and added manual stops. The case was restored and refinished; new panels and ornaments were fabricated to replace lost originals. The historic hand-painted decorations on the front pipes were preserved by painstakingly painting a new background color around them.

Further clues to the organ’s history emerged during the shop work. Several pages from a 1917 edition of the Pittsburgh Gazette were found wrapped around a stopper in one of the Sub Bass pipes. Correspondence with the organ’s "rescuers" established that it had been removed from a church in Moundsville, West Virginia circa 1970. A name card found on one of the pipes identified the organ builder who moved it there from its still-unknown original location.

Standing front and center in the church’s Main Street Sanctuary, which was previously without an organ, the instrument has made a significant contribution to the church’s music program, enhancing hymn singing and expanding the range of vocal and choral literature. It is also the centerpiece of a program of visual improvements intended to make this utilitarian room feel more like a church.


Great Organ

8’ Open Diapason
8’ Flauto Traverso
8’ Dolcissimo
4’ Octave
2-2/3’ Twelfth
2’ Fifteenth
Mixture III (new)
8’ Trumpet (new)

Swell Organ

8’ Keraulophon
8’ Stopped Diapason
8’ Voix Celeste, T.C. (former Violina, half-draw position of Cornet)
4’ Principal (new)
4’ Harmonic Flute
2’ Piccolo (new)
II Cornet, T.C. (new)
8’ Oboe

Pedal Organ

16’ Sub Bass
16’ Bass Clarinet (new)


Swell to Great
Great to Pedal
Swell to Pedal

 Image by Strode-Eckert Photography

Image by Strode-Eckert Photography