First Christian Church, Columbus, Indiana - Aeolian Skinner Pipe Organs
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1942 Aeolian-Skinner Pipe Organ Opus #993
81 Ranks of Pipes (nave organ), 4,708 pipes.

The pedal division pipes are located horizontally in the ceiling
above the nave speaking thru a recessed opening next to the nave skylights.

Pedal Swell Positiv Great Choir
32' Subbourdon
16' Principal
16' Bourdon
16' Gemshorn (Swell)
16' Violone
8' Octave
8' Gedackt Pommer
8' Gemshorn (Swell)
8' Cello
4' Choral Bass
4' Nachthorn
2' Blockflute
Cymbel II
Mixture III
32' Posaune
16' Posaune
16' Fagot
8' Trumpet
4' Clarion

16' Gemshorn
8' Geigen Principal
8' Stopped Diapason
8' Viole De Gamba
8' Viole Celeste
8' Salicional
8' Aeoline
4' Octave Geigen
4' Koppel Flute
2' Fifteenth
Cymbel III
Plein Jeu III
16' Bombarde
8' Trompette
8' Hautbois
8' Vox Humana
4' Clarion

Swell 4'
Swell Unison Off
Swell 16'

8' Gedackt
8' Quintade
4' Principal
4' Rohrflote
2' Octave
1 3/5' Tierce
1 1/3' Quint
1' Sifflute
Zimbel III
8' Krummhorn

Great 4'
Great Unison Off
Great 16'

16' Quintation
8' Principal
8' Bourdon
4' Octave
4' Spitzflute
4' Nachthorn
2 2/3' Quint
2' Blockflute
2' Super Octave
1 3/5 Terz
Sharff III
Fourniture III-V
16' Fagot
8' Trumpet


8' Diapason
8' Orchestral Flute
8' Unda Maris
8' Dulciana
4' Fugara
4' Flauto Traverso
2' Zauber Flute
Dulcet II
8' English Horn
8' Clarinet


Choir 4'
Choir Unison Off
Choir 16'

Console Accessories

Couplers Combination Pistons Toe Pistons
Great to Pedal 8'
Swell to Pedal 8'
Positiv to Pedal 8'
Choir to Pedal 8'
Great to Pedal 4'
Swell to Pedal 4'
Positiv to Pedal 4'
Choir to Pedal 4'

Positiv to Great 8'
Swell to Great 16'
Swell to Great 8'
Swell to Great 4'
Choir to Great 16'
Choir to Great 8'
Choir to Great 4'

Positiv to Choir 8'
Swell to Choir 16'
Swell to Choir 8'
Swell to Choir 4'
Great to Choir 8'

Positiv Pistons:
Positiv to Swell 8'
Choir to Swell 8'
Pos. to Ped.
8 Postive Combination Pistons
ON piston (pedal to Man.) Off Piston
Coupler Cancel Button

Swell Combination Pistons:
Sw. to Ped.
8 Swell Combination Pistons
ON piston (pedal to Man.) Off Piston
16' Manual Off Piston

Great Pistons:
8 GENERAL Combination Pistons
Gr. to Ped.
8 Great Combination Pistons
Pos. to Gt.
Sw. to Gt.
Ch. to Gt.
ON piston (pedal to Man.) Off Piston

Choir Pistons:
Pedal Combination Pistons 1,2,3,4,12,11,10,9
Ch. to Ped.
8 Choir Combination Pistons
Pos. to Ch.
Sw. to Ch.
Gt. to Ch.
ON piston (pedal to Man.) Off Piston
General Cancel

Gt. to Pedal Toe Piston
Posaune 32' Toe Piston
Sforz Toe Piston
8 Memory Pedal Toe Pistons
Choir to Pedal Toe Piston
Pos. to Pedal Toe Piston
Swell to Pedal Toe Piston
8 General Toe Pistons

General Accessories:

Mayland Chimes:
Off, 1,2,3,4,5

Indicator Lamps for:

16' Man. Off

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Chapel Aeolian-Skinner Pipe Organ (1942)

Pedal Swell Great
16' Bourdon
8' Diapason
8' Gedackt
4' Flute
4' Viola

8' Viola
8' Gedackt
4' Flute
4' Viola
2 2/3' Nazard
2' Piccolo

8' Diapason
8' Viola
8' Gedackt
4' Octave
4' Viola
2 2/3' Nazard
2' Fifteenth

About the Architecture

The main building on our campus is the architecturally renowned work of Eliel Saarinen. Completed in 1942, it was the first contemporary building in Columbus and one of the first church buildings of Modern architecture in the United States. At that time, the church was called "Tabernacle Church of Christ."

Saarinen had previously resisted the idea of designing a church building, but he and his son Eero were intrigued by the request from Columbus. Here is the architects' response to the building committee's charge:

"In accordance with the wishes of the building committee, our endeavor has been to design not a mere church but a church expressing the religious aims of your congregation. Indeed, it is essential to establish such a true relationship between the people themselves and the design of their church. 'Our church is our people.' The building committee expresses the thought. So 'our church is our people' has been the leading thought during the whole process of our design work.

"When your fathers and mothers came from different corners of the old world and by various paths in the new to form their communities in Indiana, they brought with them a variety of theological traditions, many of which were already obsolete. In the effort to unite these different denominations into one that would be commonly acceptable, your fathers and mothers, instead of combining many sects, decided to go back to the fundamentals of Christian faith. From this decision, your church has emerged as a brotherhood of simple outer form and of rich inner life."

"As we compare this development of your church with that of the new architectural thought, according to which order your church is conceived, we find that they are very much alike, both as to meaning and course of development, for as your church emancipated itself from [formalistic] theology, so the new architectural is endeavoring to build upon the fundamental principles of architecture. As you see then, your form of religion and the design of your church are spiritually related to one another."

Eliel and Eero Saarinen, 1940

In 2001, the building was designated a National Historic Landmark. According to the National Historic Landmarks Program, "First Christian Church is one of the first Modern religious buildings in America, and an outstanding example of the work of Eliel Saarinen. The building was nationally recognized at the time of its construction, and had an impact on church design in the United States in the post-World War II era. First Christian Church is also important as the first Modern building in Columbus. In 1941, Time magazine described the building as, 'the costliest modern church in the world, planned by Europe's most famous modern architect and his son.' Newsweek, in 1942, noted, the style, the new Tabernacle is utterly unlike the seventeen other churches in Columbus or, for that matter, in almost any other city in the world.'"

The sanctuary is 144 long, 46 feet wide, and 45 feet high. It seats approximately 900 people. The Sermon on the Mount tapestry in the sanctuary is approximately 10 feet wide and 35 feet tall. The architect Eliel Saarinen and his wife Loja designed it, and she wove it with her team of skilled weavers.

Light fixtures, railings, screens, and furniture were designed by Charles Eames and Eliel's son Eero. In 1940, the pair won two first prizes in the Museum of Modern Art's furniture design competition.

click on image for enlarged photograph

The bell tower next to the church stands 166 feet high

The tower is 17 feet by 23 feet at the base and 160 feet high. Structural damage necessitated sealing the exterior grill design in 1974. Until that time, chimes were played from inside the sanctuary and broadcast from the tower.

The purpose of the sunken terrace is to give all rooms outside light. A reflecting pool (formerly on the north side of the bridge) was drained and filled in 1957.

The cross on the east outside wall and on one sanctuary pew is an asymmetrical version of the "Jerusalem Cross." It is also found on the exterior of the Youth Center, built in 1957.


Click the play button (right facing arrow) to listen after the file begins to download.

by Jacques-Nicolas Lemmens

performed at First Christian Church, by

Daniel McKinley

July 14, 2007

Other recordings on the First Christian Church Aeolian-Skinner Pipe Organ:

Toccata in D Minor - J.S. Bach, Dr. David K. Lamb, Organist

Cortege - Marcel Dupre, Dr. David K. Lamb, Organist

The Old Rugged Cross , performed on the Aeolian-Skinner unit organ in the chapel, Dr. David K. Lamb, Organist

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