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MMD > Archives > August 1999 > 1999.08.30 > 02Prev  Next

Welte Orchestrion at Zaharako's Confectionery
By Rick Inzero

I want to thank Tim Trager, who wrote in MMD 990726 about the Mid-Am
Organ Rally in Columbus, Indiana:

> This town is home to Zaharakos Confectionery, which is a vintage
> ice cream parlor that has all its original decor plus its fantastic
> original Welte Style 3 Orchestrion!

I missed the organ rally, but was in Columbus the weekend of Aug. 21st,
and I stopped in at Zaharako's just to see the orchestrion.  We have
relatives in Columbus, but we never knew about Zaharako's or the
orchestrion until Tim's post.

I was amazed at the place.  If you've ever seen old black and white
photos or postcards of orchestrions in their original locale, this
place is still _just_ like that.  It's been open since 1900, and not
much has changed, and it's still mostly like new.  It's a luncheonette,
with soda fountain with oak fixtures, onyx and Italian marble soda
fountain, and mahogany bar.

We were there about 15 minutes before closing, and the last customers
(besides ourselves) had just left, so I asked if we could hear the
orchestrion.  They said sure, so after we got our ice cream, the owner
started it up.  With the high tin ceiling, mirrored walls, and hard
floors, I was prepared to plug my ears, but apparently the volume can
be adjusted, and it played sweetly without being overpowering to the
empty dining room.

I bought a post card that identifies the machine as a "Welte German
Concert Pipe Organ 1908", and it was a wonder to behold, towering high
over us all.  The wooden trackerbar can be easily seen, as well as much
of the mechanism's pull rods controlling all sorts of stuff up above
(it looked like a swell shutter door on top), thanks to lots of glass
in front.  It played a whole roll which lasted 6 minutes or more, and
sounded very nice.

I had only heard band organs play before, never an orchestrion like
this.  It was all quite impressive, and well worth a detour if ever
you're in the area.

Rick Inzero
Rochester, NY

 [ The soda shop and its Welte Style 3 Cottage Orchestrion are
 [ pictured on page 641 in Bowers' Encyclopedia.  -- Robbie

(Message sent Mon 30 Aug 1999, 15:25:38 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)

Key Words in Subject:  Confectionery, Orchestrion, Welte, Zaharako's

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