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The Mighty WurliTzer

At the May 30, 1905 opening of The Oaks, the D'Urbano Italian Band played for skating as well as concerts in the park. In time, a large band organ (the music machines of carousels) replaced the live band for skating.

In 1922, a Wm Wood Pipe Organ was installed.

Mr. Wood, who had been an organ service man for Jensen and Von Herberg at the Liberty and other houses, began building theatre organs under his own name about 1922. These Wood instruments had Gottfried meta pipework. He built a 4 manual 13 rank instrument for the Oaks Skating Rink, which was later replaced by the WurliTzer from the Broadway Theatre.
Per American Association of Theater Organ Enthusiasts 1966 convention program, "Oliver Wallace was a very popular artist in Portland during the twenties. On August 27, 1926, he presided at the WurliTzer 4 manual 18 rank organ at the opening of the Broadway Theater in downtown Portland. This house was the home of Fanchon and Marco stage presentations at that time.

In 1955 this organ was moved to the Oaks Park Skating Rink, and is played nightly except Monday by Don Simmons",
1955 Console 

See the 1955 Souvenir Program

While not containing as many pipes, it has a great deal more stops and volume than other organs.

To satisfy the demand for volume in the skating rink, no shutters were installed.

A system of wiring makes the various ranks available on any keyboard at any pitch and high pressure air brings more volume out of each individual pipe. It also differs in that it contains many percussion instruments not found in the refined classic organ. These include glockenspiel, xylophone, marimba, chromatic sleigh bells, tambourine, bird whistles, Chinese wood block, snare drums, bass drums, Persian crash cymbal, and many others.

It is a four manual, eighteen rank instrument. The organ has 1,242 pipes, including the following ranks: Gamba, Vox Humana, Flute, Viol d'Orchestra, Clarinet, Viol Celeste, Horn Diapason, Tuba Horn, Diaphonic Diapason, String Celeste, Saxophone, String, Kinura, Orchestral Oboe, Tibia Clausa, Trumpet, Oboe Horn, and Quintadena, plus Marimba, Harp, Xylophone, Glockenspiel, Orchestra Bells, Sleigh Bells, Chrysoglott, Cathedral Chimes, Snare Drum, Tambourine, Castanets, Chinese Block, Sand Block, Bass Drum, Kettle Drum, Tom Tom, Crash Cymbal, Sizzle Cymbal, Triangle, Bird Whistle, Boat Whistle, Horses Hoofs, Fire Bell, Auto Horn, Telephone Bell, and Surf Sound.


Taken at
the 1955 Dedication

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Across Rink
Organ Booth (lighted)
Pipes over skating surface

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Updated 02/01/2016 |