Music to the Glory of God

A History of Eden's Organs

Elvira Elmlund was born in 1904 and lived to 101 years of age. She was notorious in the congregation for her exacting recollection of events, people (along with phone numbers and addresses), dates and her wonderful way of delivering the information.

The following history is from among her many writings for the church. We are grateful for all she has done.


Eden’s Organs

The first organ was a reed organ, and it served the first sanctuary for many years. Olive Carlson was the organist for 25 years. When the parsonage was converted into a Fellowship Hall and used for the primary department of the Sunday School, the organ was moved there and used for many years. Gladys Dinsmore was the organist. When Eden moved to the present location and another church was just starting out, the reed organ was loaned to them. Sadly, when they had no further use for it, it was not returned to Eden, but sold or given away.

In the early part of 1939 a meeting was held to discuss the purchase of a second organ. Gladys Miller made the motion we purchase an Everett Orgatron (electric). Newell Parker assisted us in securing this organ and was organist at the Palm Sunday Concert of Dedication. Assisting were: Ben Herbert, pianist; Robert Price, baritone and director of choir; Pastor Dr. O. A. Elmquist. Psalm 150 was chosen and read responsively by pastor and congregation and after each two verses the organ responded with “Amen.” Pastor Elmquist’s message was “God Is at the Organ.”

Through the years, Eden has had many connections with the Mission Inn. Eden bought the property at 11th and Orange from Frank Miller, Master of the Inn, and he donated his realtor’s commission to Eden. Elsie Youngren, a member of Eden, sang daily at the Inn and she and Eden’s Intern, Clarence Carlstrom, were married there. Pastor O. A. Elmquist had the funeral services for a prominent long-time guest of the Mission Inn. The 1940 California Conference banquet was at the Inn and Newell Parker, the Inn Organist was Eden’s Organist. Most recently, the Friday evening Taize style service for the 1997 Pacifica Synod Assembly was held in the chapel of the Mission Inn.

The third organ was purchased when Eden moved to the present sanctuary in 1953. It was a small Mohler (stock model). In 1959 it was enlarged, adding 61 new pipes ranging from 16 feet to 2 inches. A memorial dedication was held on June 21, 1959 at both services. Funds were donated in memory of Ida Carlson by her son, Stanley Carlson, and in memory of Albert and Hilma Lundell by their children, Helen Cunningham, John Lundell, Clara Shafer and Esther Rhudy. Musical dedicatory selections were: “Ballade in D” and anthem “Christ Is Made the Sure Foundation” (Dale Wood).

In the summer of 1959, at the morning service, there were strange sounds coming from the organ as Dale Wood played. A soloist whispered to Dale that a kitten had crawled into the organ. He continued playing until the cries and scratching of the kitten were heard by the congregation. With the assistance of an usher, Dale removed the heavy oak top of the organ to see the kitten sitting calmly on the key mechanisms. The kitten escaped and walked across the chancel, headed for the choir room, with an usher in hot pursuit.

A fire in the church caused by an arsonist just before Christmas in 1964 caused considerable damage to the organ. It needed repairs and it was decided to upgrade with a custom made three manual Mohler organ, which was installed and dedicated in April of 1965. Details of this organ can be found in the Hundreth Anniversary book, pages 57 & 58. On page 59 is a copy of the invitation to the five concerts. Dale Wood, Eden’s organist and choirmaster assisted in securing this organ and arranged for the concerts. There were very large crowds at all of the concerts and one had to be repeated. You will note there were great artists who performed and some of the selections were by Dale Wood and Richard Purvis.

Now this organ, after many years of service, is being upgraded, thanks to the generous donations of Eden members and friends. Thanks to these people, we have met our goal for the cost. Don Vaughn, our current organist, has donated his time and talent in research, and actual assembly work. We are truly blessed to have such talent and benevolence in our midst.