Historic organ hoisted from remains of Trinity Lutheran Church; ‘There’s not going to be another’

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.
Data pix.

Historic organ removed from Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church

MILWAUKEE -- A large crane lifted on Monday, Sept. 10 what remains of the historic and priceless Schuelke pipe organ from Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in downtown Milwaukee.

The organ was damaged beyond repair in a fire that destroyed the 140-year-old building on May 15. The circumstances surrounding the fire are still under investigation. That said, what is left of the organ still holds value.

On Monday, a crane hoisted the organ out of the tattered structure -- piece by piece -- pipe by pipe.

Historic organ removed from Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church

Christine Behnke

"But to see that coming down, your heart goes, 'Oh gosh,'" said Christine Behnke, Director of Parish Education at Trinity Lutheran Church.

Behnke's husband John is the choir director and organist.

"Ups and downs. I know for John some of this process has been bittersweet," Behnke said.

Historic pipe organ removed from Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church

What is left of the organ may still have a purpose.

"Well, we can't make another Schuelke. There's not going to be another one. But they might be able to use some of the pipes that they salvage as models or templates for the next instrument," Behnke said. "Some organ pipes are made of metal and some are made of wood."

Historic pipe organ removed from Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church

Historic pipe organ removed from Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church

Behnke's husband and an organ tech were inside the church -- orchestrating the removal.

"Go through bit by bit just to see what's there of historic value -- what's there that can help us rebuild," Behnke said.

CLICK HERE to make a donation toward the effort to reconstruct Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Data pix.
Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.