Early in the twentieth-century, many millionaires built massive homes displaying their wealth as monuments of their “success”. Music rooms, ballrooms and fine musical instruments were symbols of culture and refinement. The Aeolian Organ Company was one company often used to create and install fashionable instruments in family estates and occasionally on their luxury yachts. There were only approximately 800 Aeolian organs produced and only 20 made it to Canada.
Windsor is home to the only historically preserved and fully functional Aeolian organ in Canada. The organ was made in 1924 for James Cooper, Windsor’s “businessman’s bootlegger”. It was built for his extravagant Walkerville home, Cooper Court, which was then the largest in the city. The organ is a part of Windsor’s history, capturing the opulence of the days of Prohibition.
The cost of the organ at the time was $50,000; when Cooper’s home was being torn down in 1946, Edwin Morris, opening what is now the Morris Sutton Funeral Home, acquired the organ for the funeral home. Decades later, Ron Dossenbach, certified by the Royal Canadian College of Organists, played at a Morris Sutton funeral and fell in love with the Aeolian. He restored it to its present working condition, making it possibly the only one in the world with full functionality.
Organ an artifact of a bygone era. Retrieved July 2018.
Antique organ provides Prohibition-era history – and heavenly music. Retrieved July 2018.
Aeolian Pipe Organ (Video) Retrieved July 2018.