OHS – Stoneleigh Mansion

OHS - Stoneleigh Mansion
Villanova, Pennsylvania
Project 54 - 2023

In September 2020, we begin the process of researching, documenting and restoring an early 19th century, two rank cabinet organ; a collaboration with S. L. Huntington & Co. in Stonington, CT. The instrument was donated to the Organ Historical Society by the Strawbery Banke Museum in NH and is reportedly built by one of America’s first organbuilders, Jacob Hilbus of Washington, DC. As the ‘piano tuner to the White House’, Jacob Hilbus advertised his services on rare occasions in the local D.C. newspaper:

Jacob Hilbus,
Organ Builder, G Street, near the Treasury, Washington
RESPECTFULLY offers his services to those
who may be pleased to employ him in the above business.
Organs and pianos repaired at the shortest
Notice, and on moderate terms.

The process includes defining historic restoration techniques, analysis of original materials, studying other extant instruments by the builder and a compilation of findings in a comprehensive documentation report. DeBergerac Productions is also documenting the process in film. This instrument is a fascinating part of American history, having been owned by Judge William Cranch (1769-1855), a U.S. Circuit Court Judge and Chief U.S. Circuit court judge appointed by both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.

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