(new images at bottom of page, July 2002)

Worcester Chapter of the American Guild of Organists
Central Massachusetts Pipe Organ Specification Collection

The Great Hall shown set up for a Brown Bag Concert ("Pops" style table seating)

Mechanics Hall
Worcester, Massachusetts  USA

(A well deserved title given at its dedication in 1864, placing it on equal footing with its Boston counterpart, now in Methuen)

Photography this page by Will Sherwood E & G G Hook Opus 334 1864
52 stops, 64 ranks, 3504 pipes
Wind supply Power: One large reservoir bellows each for high and low pressures. Pressures (mm): Pedale and Solo: 89; remainder 76 History Restored in 1982 by Noack as opus 92, Barker lever added (for all couplers to great); Additional restoration work in 2002-3, as well as ongoing maintenance and tuning, by Stefan Maier. Bibliography The Historical Organ in America, Lynn Edwards, ed., The Westfield Center, 1992 Preserving the Acoustics of Mechanics Hall: a Restoration Without Compromising Acoustical Integrity," W J Cavanaugh, Technology & Conservation (Fall, 1980). Registration Chart Template for Organists Additional History Description from Mechanics Hall's Web Site


I Choir (C-a3, 58)

    Aeolina & Bourdon           16
    Open Diapason                8
    Melodia                      8
    Keraulophon                  8
    Dulciana                     8
    Flauto Traverso              4
    Violin                       4
    Picolo                       2
    Mixture                    III
    Clarinet                     8

II Great (C-a3, 58)

    Open Diapason               16
    Open Diapason                8
    Stopped Diapason             8
    Viola da Gamba               8
    Claribella                   8
    Principal                    4
    Flute Harmonique             4
    Twelfth                      2 2/3
    Fifteenth                    2
    Mixture                    III
    Mixture                      V
    Trumpet                     16
    Trumpet                      8
    Clarion                      4

III Swell (C-a3, 58)

    Bourdon                     16
    Open Diapason                8
    Stopped Diapason             8
    Viol d'Amour                 8
    Principal                    4
    Flute Octaviante             4
    Violin                       4
    Twelfth                      2 2/3
    Fifteenth                    2
    Mixture                      V
    Trumpet                     16 (tenor C)
    Cornopean                    8
    Oboe                         8
    Clarion                      4
    Vox Humana                   8

IV Solo (C-a3, 58)

    Philomela                    8
    Salicional                   8
    Hohl Pfeife                  4
    Picolo                       2
    Tuba                         8
    Corno Inglese                8

Pedale (C-f1, 30, straight, flat pedalboard)

    Open Diapason               16
    Violone                     16
    Bourdon                     16
    Quinte                      10 2/3
    Violoncello                  8
    Flute                        8
    Posaune                     16


    Swell to Great *           8
    Swell to Choir              8
    Choir to Great *           8
    Solo to Great *           8      * Barker assist 
    Choir to Solo              8       (no way to disable Barkers)
    Great to Pedale         8
    Choir to Pedale          8, 4
    Swell to Pedale           8
    Solo to Pedale            8

Combination pedals

    Piano Swell
    Forte Swell
    Great to Pedale (reversible)
    Pedale (brings on Diapason 16' and Pedale II stops' controls)
    Piano Great
    Forte Great
    Piano Choir
    Forte Choir


    Swell tremulant
    Bellows signal (not used)
    Pedale Check
    Ventil 1 (Open Diapason 16')
    Ventil 2 (Pedale II chest)

Additional History of Mechanics Hall

With the Great Hall's premiere in 1857, Mechanics Hall has maintained its fame as one of the finest concert and lecture halls in the United States-- "... a perfect success, ... both for music and for speaking" reports the Worcester Daily Spy. Through the years it has served as a venue for Caruso, Paderewski, Rachmaninoff, Rubinstein, Yo Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Jessye Norman, as well as literary greats Thoreau, Emerson, Dickens, and Mark Twain.

Falling into disuse after the depression years, the Worcester County Mechanics Association restored it during the 1970s to its original beauty and excellent acoustics. Soon thereafter, the 1864 Hook organ was restored by Fritz Noack under the leadership of an AGO restoration committee headed by the late Stephen Long. Many fundraisers, such as selling organ chamber dust(!), were held to fund the project.

The 1970s restoration was a landmark in American organbuilding, culminating with its rededication in September, 1982- this year we're celebrating the restoration's twentieth anniversary.

The organ, with chamber openings cloistered by large oil paintings of early American leaders, is the largest nineteenth century American concert hall organ that can still be heard in its original location. Additional building renovations were completed in 1990, and major maintenance is scheduled for the fall of 2002.

Seating almost 1400 with a 1000-square-foot stage, Mechanics Hall retains its original purpose as a multi-use auditorium for concerts, business functions, receptions, and dinners-- a perfect location for a wedding, or a brown-bag organ recital.

The 100-ft-long hall provides visual and acoustical intimacy with no sound-absorbing materials used in the surfaces (except seat cushions). The reverberation time at a concert with full audience, but no orchestra on stage, is 1.6 seconds. Its principal deficiency is the flat main floor which necessitates neck stretching to view performances.

Architect: original hall, Elbridge Boyden; 1970s building renovation, Anderson Notter Finegold, Inc.; 1990s renovation, Lamoureaux Pagano & Associates, Inc.;   Acoustical consultants (both renovations) Cavanaugh Tocci Associates, Inc.;   Sound Consultants: David H Kaye.

Picture Gallery



Center of facade, looking upward

Square rails and stop lever mechanisms directly behind console

Fieldstone weights for main bellows

Tracker transports directly behind console

Pedal division pipes

Ready to pump manually if needed

Picture attached to a strucutural support, inside chamber
Rumor has it that this is a Hook grandson, but we think he had something to do with chickens


1999 Region I AGO Convention

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