Salt Lake City || The Tabernacle

A day-and-a-half in Salt Lake City. Only a short stop, because Yellowstone may be something out of this world, but so are the Salt Flats, adding to the extraordinary natural phenomena we experienced in this part of the globe; a gift that keeps on giving. Our shoes and backpacks still white with salt, we set out to explore the city; starting, as you do, with the Temple Square and the Tabernacle for the daily 12 o’clock, 11.623 pipe organ recital, which is free and open to the public. Followed by views from the Assembly Hall, initially a place of worship, today a space mainly for recitals, lectures and tours. And a first glimpse of the Temple, the most sacred building in the city.

Temple Square, Salt Lake City, UT

June 6th, 2018

Macy’s Philadelphia – not just a department store

Even without a guided tour, Macy’s Philadelphia is a wonderful mix of fashion, architecture and history. And pipe organ music.

Housed in John Wanamaker’s flagship store, the first of its kind in Philadelphia, a national historic landmark since 1978.

Wanamaker Building was completed in 1911 on the site of an abandoned railroad station. Built in the Florentine style with granite walls by Chicago architect Daniel H. Burnham, it had 12 floors, just enough to accommodate the pipe organ John Wanamaker bought from the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1909. With more than 10.000 pipes, the organ was so big, they needed 13 train cars to transport it and two years to install it.  

It is, by some accounts, the largest playable organ in the world and it is delighting visitors twice daily, at noon and in the afternoon Monday through Saturday. For schedule and other interesting historical and musical facts, please visit the website of The Friends of the Wanamaker Organ.

But meanwhile, enjoy a photographic behind-the-scenes historic tour of this magnificent building, which we joined by pure chance when a guide and his small group of two found us peering at the console and kindly invited us to follow them.

It was one of the highlights of our trip.

The tour includes unused spaces restricted from public view, such as this room adorned with wood and these magnificent Tiffany stained glass panels; it takes a look at the Egyptian Hall and Greek Hall auditoria, hidden behind the shop’s executive offices; walks through the organ workshop where repairs and restoration take place to this day; and, finally, to the grand Crystal Tea Room where – as expected – preparations for a wedding reception were underway.

Tours last approximately 45 minutes. For more info please check with the Visitor Center at Macy’s.

February 22nd, 2017