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MMD > Archives > February 2013 > 2013.02.03 > 03Prev  Next

Surviving Wurlitzer 157 Band Organs
By Dan Robinson

I enjoyed Mikey Mills' posting about surviving Wurlitzer Style 157
band organs in MMD 130131.  Echoing Mikey's comments, some enthusiasts
prefer the Style 157 even to the Style 165, since the 157 plays Style
165 rolls but has, some would say, more of a classic carousel sound.
Here is some additional information about some of the 157s Mikey wrote

The Kings Island, Ohio, 157 (from Asbury Park, New Jersey, then
Gay 90s Village, Sikeston, Missouri) is serial no. 3833.

The ex-Disneyland 157, now in a private collection in Connecticut,
is serial no. 3454.  This organ originally played at Sunnyside Park,
Toronto, as did the 165 now in the same collection (no. 3358).  The
late Ross R. Davis of California procured the carousel and 157 for
Walt Disney (but the 165 did not go to Disney).  Disneyland now has
a 157-style façade, built by the late Tom Grace, on its carousel
(which can no longer be considered the Sunnyside Dentzel carousel
since the frame, mechanism, panels, and even most of the horses have
been replaced).

The 157 in the Sanfilippo collection (Illinois) originally played
at Acushnet Park, New Bedford, Massachusetts.  This organ, no. 3444,
and its Dentzel carousel then moved to Genesee Valley Park, Rochester,
New York.  From there the organ went to Bill Hames Shows, Ft. Worth,
Texas, and after a couple of other owners it went to its current home.

I believe that the 157 at the Grand Rapids Public Museum in Michigan
is no. 4058 and that, like the Disneyland 157, it once played Caliola

The 157 at Knotts Berry Farm, Buena Park, California, came from
Griffith Park in Los Angeles, where there was also a 165 -- with
style 157 façade -- for at least some of the time that the 157 was
there (the 165, no. 4338, is now part of the American Treasure Tour
collection, Oaks, Pennsylvania).  The 157, which I believe is no.
3766, has a façade with side wings unlike those on any other 157.

The 157 which sold at an auction last February and is now believed
to be in a Texas collection is organ no. 3639.  It was owned by Paul
Torin of New Jersey, then Mike Ames of California, and finally the
Milhous collection in Florida until it was sold last year.  Mikey wrote
that this was the organ used for the Allan Herschell Co. "Merri-Org"
recordings, but I don't believe there is any firm evidence to support
this claim.

An existing 157 Mikey did not mention is organ no. 3679, which
originally played at Luna Park in Coney Island, New York.  It was
later owned by the late Dr. Robert Miller of Connecticut, and is now
in a private collection in Illinois.

Mikey mentioned the Gavioli-built "157" which played with a Dentzel
carousel at Dollywood in Tennessee.  This carousel is now in storage
in its old hometown of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, waiting to return to
operation (with the organ).

Dan Robinson
Rochester, New York

 [ A Herschell "Merri-Org" 78 rpm recording may be heard at
 [  The arrangement is
 [ excellent; is it B.A.B.?  To my ears the song is playing in C-sharp
 [ and F-sharp, probably because the record is spinning slightly faster
 [ than normal.  I hear the bass note "A" playing below "C", which
 [ suggests the instrument maybe is a big, modified Gavioli.  -- Robbie

(Message sent Sun 3 Feb 2013, 04:27:53 GMT, from time zone GMT-0800.)

Key Words in Subject:  157, Band, Organs, Surviving, Wurlitzer

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