HISTORY OF THE TANNENBERG ORGAN

Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church occupies a unique position in the history of American organ building.

The will of Barbara Schmidt, dated January 7, 1795, bequeathed " . . .that part of the money arising from the sale of my Estate be applied as follows: part thereof towards purchasing an organ for said Congregation . . ." Sometime between the death of Barbara Schmidt in 1798 and 1803, Christ Church commissioned David Tannenberg, famous American organ builder of Lititz, PA., to build the organ specified in the York widow's will. In the spring of 1804, the completed instrument was brought to York where Tannenberg and his assistant worked five weeks to install it. This was Tannenberg's 35th church organ - and his last - for the famed Pennsylvania organ builder did not live to see it completed.

While tuning the York organ, which was installed on the rear gallery, David Tannenberg suffered a stroke, fell from the scaffolding, and died three days later on May 19, 1804. The instrument was first played at his funeral services and Tannenberg was buried in York.

Moved several times to different parts of the church as the congregation and the church itself grew, the Tannenberg organ was kept in playing condition until 1945 when it was given to the Historical Society of York County. The organ was restored to playing condition and erected at the Historical Society's headquarters on East Market Street, where it may be seen and heard today.

(Also see www.davidtannenberg.com)