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MMD > Archives > November 2003 > 2003.11.08 > 01Prev  Next

Wurlitzer 165 Organs at Lincoln Park & Griffith Park
By Bruce Pier

I'd thought I'd put my two-bits worth in here since I'm somewhat
familiar with both.  The Lincoln Park and Griffith Park Spillman
carousels were near identical, with the Lincoln Park machine being
three years older.  The Lincoln machine came with a North Tonawanda
Style 188.  At approximately the same time Ross Davis bought from
Wurlitzer a Style 165.

The machine that would eventually wind up in Griffith Park was
purchased by Ross Davis in 1926 and operated as a concession at the
Mission Beach Amusement Center (later to be known as Belmont Park) in
San Diego.  It came with a Wurlitzer Style 157 with a modified facade.
This machine was moved to the "GAY WAY" in Balboa Park during the
Exposition in 1934-35(?).  After the fair it was moved to Griffith
Park, replacing a Herschel-Spillman machine that had been sent to the
San Francisco bay area.

In 1939 Ross bought the last 165 in the Wurlitzer plant, fitted with
a 157 facade, for the Griffith Park machine.  From the 1940s until the
early 1950s both organs there had nearly identical facades.  In the
early fifties the 157 from the center housing was sold to Bud Hurlbut
and installed on his Dentzel carousel at Knott's Berry Farm.  (It's
still there today, non-functional).  It was replaced with one of the
many North Tonawanda Musical Instrument Works Style 188 organs that the
Davises owned.

The Davises believed in having two organs on their big carousels.  The
small one in the center was used on the weekdays when business tended
to be slower and the 165's were played on the weekends.  This operating
procedure was followed at Griffith, Lincoln and Tilden Parks.

In the 1960s Don Rand and Ed Openshaw began working for the Davises.
About the same time, the Lincoln Park machine was all but destroyed by
a fire that was attributed to arson.  The 165 organ happened to be in
the organ shop being rebuilt when this occurred, along with one of the

Don and Ed eventually bought the Griffith Park machine, the two 165's
and a couple of smaller organs from J.O. Davis, Ross' son.  Don kept
the 165 with the 157 facade, and Ed kept the Lincoln Park organ.  The
latter was put to work on the carousel.  It stayed with it until the
sale of the operation to Warren Deasy and Rosemary West.  It was
replaced with a Stinson concert organ.

Bruce R. Pier

(Message sent Sat 8 Nov 2003, 17:50:11 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  165, Griffith, Lincoln, Organs, Park, Wurlitzer

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