The organ was commissioned by John D. Spreckels. Placed on the right side of the console is a plaque that reads: "John D. Spreckels has generously given the organ in this temple for the pleasure of those who, like himself, are lovers of music AD MCMXXIV." Spreckels donated the organ as a tribute to his brother Adolph, who was dying from syphilis. Adolph died before it was completed.
Inside the Palace of the Legion of Honor, the Skinner Organ is presented in a very plain setting. Similar to other Organs of Skinner design, it is simply there and can be easily overlooked. Although completed by The Skinner Organ Company in 1923 and dedicated by Ernest M. Skinner as Opus 455, the placque makes no mention of Skinner's influence.
By the time Ernest Skinner came to build the Spreckels organ, he was already highly regarded within the industry. For many, the possession of a Skinner organ signified that its ownership was suggestive of regal nature. For a time in which much of America's population were still utilizing the outdoor privy, a space not intended as a house of worship to include a Skinner organ, was nearly unheard of. Of course, the era of the silent movie was in full swing, but still novel the idea to provide the public with entertainment was respected and well received- most usually, only shopping centers or department stores on the East Coast featured such accoutrements. Rarely did such culture come to the West Coast, and certainly not in the form of a Roman temple overlooking the Pacific Ocean! Nonetheless, the California Palace of the Legion of Honor spared little expense insuring that the finest of entertainment would be provided for its patrons.
Resurgence of a Landmark Instrument the Restoration of the Great Organ in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York City
Nov 01, 2009; EARLY ON the morning of December 18, 2001, a massive five-alarm fire at the Episcopal Cathedral of St. John the Divine lit up the...