In 1930, there were an estimated 12,000 theatre organs throughout the United States. At that time, the second largest theatre organ company, Robert-Morton, built five identical theatre organs to place in the Loew’s five massive flagship theatres around NYC. The organ was to be magnum opus, and they were called "Wonder.” Of the five Wonder organs, the one in the United Palace is the last organ left in its original home, completely unaltered. The others have been taken out, moved, heavily altered, or destroyed. What we have is not only unique, it is truly one-of-a-kind.
UPCA and the New York Theatre Organ Society (NYTOS) are currently raising $1,000,000 to restore its 86-year-old and historically significant Robert-Morton “Wonder” Theatre Organ. After years of water damage and a small fire, the organ has become entirely unplayable. Our efforts will make this grand and thunderous instrument playable again so it will serve as the only remaining, consistently used theatre organ in New York City and stand as a tool to educate audiences and future musicians.
The multi-phase effort is expected to take several years. Learn more about the progress of this restoration here. Organ specifications: 4/23 | 5 Tuned Percussion | 12 Traps | 1,799 Pipes.