The First Riverside Organ was built in 1930 by Hook & Hastings of Boston and contained 102 independent stops and three 32-foot registers. Starting with a new five-manual console in 1948, Aeolian-Skinner of Boston rebuilt the instrument from 1953 to 1955 to the designs of Virgil Fox. From 1965 to 1967, another far-reaching rebuild was undertaken by Anthony A. Bufano (Curator of Organs at Riverside from 1963 until his death in 1994) with the assistance of many other organbuilders. Also at this time the console was thoroughly rebuilt. Throughout Bufano's tenure, the organ continued to be refined, amended and augmented until it reached the status of New York City's second largest pipe organ.
The most impressive recent addition has been a more sympathetic acoustical environment, provided by sealing the Guastavino tile and walls in the galleries and rear five bays during the summer of 1995. The additional reverberation has given unprecedented warmth to the tone. Meanwhile, the instrument continues to grow, the most recent addition being the long prepared-for Tuba Mirabilis of the Bombarde division.
For a detailed history of the organs at The Riverside Church, visit the NYC AGO website here.