Kotzschmar Organ Fun Facts
There are 6857 pipes 87 stops and 101 ranks in the organ. If the pipes were laid out end to end, they would reach approximately 3.6 miles, or the distance of Portland’s Back Cove Trail.
- The longest is 32 feet long.
- The shortest is less than 1 inch long.
- Only 12 pipes in the façade actually speak.
- The Antiphonal and Echo divisions have over 1,300 pipes.
- There are 11 percussion instruments (drum, xylophone, marimba, cymbals) within the organ.
- The organ weighs 50 tons, equivalent to the weight of eight full-grown elephants.
- The action is electro-pneumatic. Nearly 100 miles of wiring is used in the organ, enough to reach from Portland to Augusta and back.
- The main organ chamber is 60 feet long, 16 feet deep and 40 feet tall - large enough to hold 66 Ford Windstar Minivans.
- The Antiphonal and Echo divisions are located on the 6th floor of the auditorium, high above the balcony.
The console has:
- 337 keys (305 for the hands and 32 for the feet);
- 229 stop knobs;
- 29 tilting coupler tablets;
- 135 pistons (104 activated by the hands, 31 activated by the feet);
- 5 expression pedals to regulate the volume of the organ;
- 9 additional control buttons.
- A 25-horsepower blower and a 1-horsepower blower (equivalent to the power produced by 250 cyclists and 10 cyclists pedaling) supply wind to the instrument.
- The organ’s wind chest has approximately 825 square feet of floor space. According to the Fire Department, up to 92 people could fit in there (even when the organ is playing).
- The organ was built in 1912 and enlarged in 1927 and 2000.
- It is the 323rd organ built by the Austin Organ Company of Hartford, CT out of over 2,700 organs built by this company to date. Each organ is numbered by Austin and keeps its number forever.
- It was the first organ in the USA to be designated a “municipal organ.”
- The organ was a gift to the City of Portland from Cyrus H.K. Curtis in 1912.
- The organ is in memory of Hermann Kotzschmar, a beloved Portland organist and music teacher, who died in 1908. His bust is located below the center tower of the façade.
- There are currently only two Municipal Organists in the USA: Portland, Maine and San Diego, California.
- Ray Cornils is Portland’s 10th Municipal Organist.