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The First United Methodist Church has been for sale but has not had a buyer yet.

Methodists Sell Historic North Adams Pipe Organ

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff
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The massive organ has pipes in two chambers and will be removed in June.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The historic Aeolian-Skinner organ in First United Methodist Church as been sold to a Dorchester church.

The three-manual organ dates back to 1929, when the church was built.

According to Board of Trustees Chairman John Carvalho, church officials recently signed a purchase and sales agreement with All Saints Ashmont Episcopal Church in Dorchester for the pipe organ.

It is expected to be removed from North Adams in June.

"It's better that it's being used instead of sitting dormant," Carvalho said.

The church has been empty for some years as members met at  First Congregational Church across the street. The congregation recently merged with the United Methodists in Williamstown.

The church was closed because the 80-year-old building was deteriorating and the number of parishioners was decreasing.

All Saints is rebuilding its church and contacted the North Adams congregation, Carvalho said. Members from Dorchester played the organ and offered a price that matched prices North Adams officials received from appraisers — factoring in the expensive moving costs that will be incurred by All Saints.

"The gentleman from Dorchester came up and played it, and he just loved it," Carvalho said. "It's quite pricey to move these items."

Carvalho said the money from the sale will go back into the Methodist's operations but exactly how has not been determined.

The dedication plaques will remain on the organ in the new church.
The organ pipes extend two floors in two sections of the church and need to be taken out in large sections. It was purchased for $13,240 in 1929 after the original church burnt down in 1927 and was installed by the Ernest M. Skinner Co., which is considered by many as one of the most successful organ manufacturers.

The organ also features dedication plaques, which Carvalho said the Dorchester church will keep on it.

It was beloved by many in the city and the church hosted many concerts. However, the announcement that it would be leaving the city did not sadden the parishioners, Carvalho said.

"When it was announced, people were happy that it will be played again," he said.

Church officials are also selling the building and have some interest but no sale imminent. The Williamstown Methodist Church is set to be sold to the Williamstown Preschool. The newly created parish, the New Hope United Methodist, is seeking rental property to hold services.

The congregation has been meeting at the Williamstown Youth Center.

Officials were looking at purchasing land to build a new church that would be accessible for the both North Adams and Williamstown residents but for now are looking to rent.

The organ in the Williamstown church is expected to be preserved until the congregation decides what to do with it.

Tags: church,   historical,   instrument,   music,   

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