OSU, Gill Coliseum - 2/9 Wurlitzer
Back to the Northwest Public Theatre Organ Installations page
This instrument was originally installed November 1927 in Corvallis' Whiteside Theatre
as Wurlitzer opus 1807 a 2/8 Style F. It was used throughout the 1920's, but eventually fell into disrepair.
In 1960, Oregon Chapter Charter member Dick Chase worked it over, put it in playing condition and had access to its use.
In 1961, Mrs. Whiteside gave it to Oregon State University to be installed in the new 10,000-seat Gill Coliseum basketball and athletic building. Dick Chase not only supervised the move but did most of the reinstallation. His first job was to find a place to install the organ. Dick said that they took organ recordings and played them through a high output movable speaker system, transferring the speakers from place to place in the building. The best location seemed to be the west end of the stadium, elevated about 20 feet above the seats. It should be noted that in the theater the organ was installed in the rear of the stage area in two large swell boxes, so by building platforms out from the wall between the roof girders the organ was reinstalled in the original chamber boxes as it was in the theatre. The two chambers were separated by about 20 feet. The console was set on a cantilever platform at seat level between the chambers. The renovated organ was equipped with great octave and suboctave couplers. Since the organ speaks directly under the curved roof, the sound rolls through the large structure making the 8-rank organ sound very large.
The organ was used for several years but was ultimately found to be inadequate to fill the auditorium. The console was disconnected and found its way to the Benton County Historical Museum in Philomath, Oregon where it resides today. According to Dick Warburton, the console is on display in the museum.