Home Biz Scoop Organ Stop not only boasts largest Wurlitzer, but biggest theater pipe organ...

Organ Stop not only boasts largest Wurlitzer, but biggest theater pipe organ ever assembled

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Organ Stop Pizza in Mesa not only boasts the largest Wurlitzer theater organ in the world, it is now the largest theater pipe organ of any type to ever be assembled. (Submitted photo)

Organ Stop Pizza in Mesa has been a Valley favorite for 46 years. Home to the nation’s largest Wurlitzer pipe organ, the unique pizza restaurant is a favorite entertainment destination for all ages. Along with pizza, they offer pasta, appetizers, a salad bar, ice cream and beer/wine and soft drinks. Everything from Bach to rock is played by their professional organists to crowds of up to 700 people every night.

Organ Stop Pizza not only boasts the largest Wurlitzer theater organ in the world, it is now the largest theater pipe organ of any type to ever be assembled.

“Organ Stop is thrilled about the newest ranks of pipes to our Mighty Wurlitzer, they add a new dimension to the tonal colors in the dining room and compliment the higher end frequencies that are sometimes lost with the deep bass of the instrument,” said Jack Barz, co-owner of Organ Stop Pizza in Mesa. “Not only did the new pipes take us to a size never achieved before, they added more depth and range to the mightiest Wurlitzer ever created.”

The history

Organ Stop’s Wurlitzer theater organ was built for the Denver Theatre and was installed in 1927. The organ was used regularly until the early 1930s. With the advent of the talking picture and the 1930s depression, the organ was rarely heard. It was silenced when a fire in the auditorium caused extensive damage to the organ’s relay.

In the theater, the organ was a style 260, having a three-manual console and 15 ranks/sets of pipes.

Organ Stop purchased the instrument in the early 1970s and undertook the mammoth task of rebuilding the instrument. Several additions were made to the instrument by acquiring parts from other ill-fated Wurlitzers. The resulting 23 rank organ was installed in the original facility in 1975.

The building’s design is expressly for the enjoyment of patrons, with the organ installed in four chambers at one end of the restaurant. Forty-three-foot ceilings provide unparalleled acoustics. The console is “presented” on an 8,000-pound rotating hydraulic elevator. Many of the percussions (such as the xylophones, glockenspiels, drums, etc.) are installed in the dining room for greater audience appeal.

The enlargement and improvement of this instrument has been an ongoing project. In 1997, a larger four manual console was added to the instrument. The new console is an exact replica of a “Fox Special” French case, ornamented to match the famous Brooklyn Paramount Wurlitzer. This is the largest console type ever designed and built by Wurlitzer. Through the years, several rare sets of pipes have been added to the organ, including a massive set of 32-foot wood diaphones (visible from the front of the building). As of today, the organ has nearly 6,000 pipes. The massive quantities of wind required for operation are provided by four huge turbine blowers (visible from the outside of the building in the blower complex). The resulting instrument boasts 82 ranks, 17 tuned percussions and innumerable traps and effects. It is not only the largest Wurlitzer theater organ in the world, it’s the largest Theatre Pipe Organ of any type to ever be assembled.

Organ Stop Pizza is located at 1149 E. Southern Ave. They are a cash or check business. No debit or credit cards accepted but an ATM is available in the lobby.

For more information, visit www.organstoppizza.com.

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