Situated between the Living Room and the Library, guests meander through the Organ Alcove to see a grand Aeolian Opus organ. The grand instrument boasts 4,500 pipes, bellows, electrical switches, and thousands of feet of wiring, most of which is hidden in a special room in the basement of The Hall.
The organ, originally purchased in 1919 by John and Matilda Dodge for their grand home to-be-built in Grosse Pointe, cost about $60,000. After John’s death in 1920, the organ was put in storage on Meadow Brook Farm. Once Matilda and Alfred Wilson began to build Meadow Brook Hall, they asked the architect William Kapp to integrate the organ into The Hall. Installing the organ into its new home — with all the bells and whistles — cost another $7,000.
Aeolian was considered the preeminent residential organ builder between 1894 and 1930. Having an Aeolian organ in your home was considered the ultimate status symbols. In fact, Matilda’s in-laws, Horace and Anna Dodge, had the company install an organ into their home and their yacht, the Delphine. The organ tucked away into the alcove of Meadow Brook Hall is still the country’s second largest residential organ.
To celebrate the organ’s 100th birthday, Meadow Brook Hall will have an organist playing through touring on Wednesday, June 19, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Guests will also be able to walk through the alcove while the organist is playing and take in the extraordinary music all throughout the mansion.
For more information on touring, click here.