Last night on HGTV's "Extreme Homes" they showed a house which was
designed and built around a Wurlitzer pipe organ! The house is owned
by Fred and Eva Beeks of Skagway, Alaska. Fred purchased the organ in
1960, and when he and his wife moved to Alaska approximately ten years
ago, they built their house around the pipe organ.
It just shows you never know where a pipe organ will turn up!
Below is the write-up of the program from the HGTV web site.
Player Piano and Mechanical Music Exchange
- - -
Pipe Organ House
Skagway is located at the Northern Terminus of the Inside Passage and
was a part of the Klondike Gold Rush of 1897. Now only 800 people live
there full-time, but 600,000 tourists visit every year. Fred and Eva
discovered the place as tourists and finally settled there.
They found a home about 150 feet from the airport, which is true for
most residents, because the town is only four blocks wide and the
airstrip runs its entire length. The home is 64 feet wide, 32 feet
deep, and two stories high. The exterior is metal siding and the roof
is metal as well. The style of the house is roughly Dutch Colonial.
Eva keeps the garden colorful with flowers.
The house has oversized gables to accommodate Fred's unusual hobby:
the pipe organ. He built the house around the many pipes. The
first-floor living area is quite small, as the instrument takes up most
of it. Fred's Wurlitzer Theatre Pipe Organ has 925 pipes and sits in
a special 12-by-20-foot room that reaches two-and-a-half stories high.
Originally the organ was installed in the California Theatre in
Dunsmere in 1925.
Upstairs, only one bedroom and a sitting area can coexist with the
giant organ. The organ has sounds of drums, bells, xylophone, chimes,
clarinet, trumpet and flutes. Fred designed an organ roll device so
that the instrument can play itself. He says he plays it daily,
anywhere from 15 minutes to several hours, and the neighbors don't