BBHS Reed Organ

Reed Oregan
Gorden Sulliven

Birch Bay Historical Society – cshop@birchbay.net – BuyerTours Realty Mail

The following is Kathy McDivits draft from her interview with Gorden Sullivan.
 Transcription of Gorden Sullivan Interview November 2019Subject:  Reed Organ Owned by Walborg Anderson’s FamilyGorden:  Inside of each bellows is a flapper covering a hole that’s a check valve.  Well, I used horsehide glue and the stuff doesn’t tend to set up when it should.  It has a residual adhesiveness to it, and I’m sure one of those valves is stuck shut.  When (name) tried to play it the seat was kind of wobbling and he was just all over the place pumping, you know, because of this darn check (valve).Okay, you want to know about Walborg Anderson.  I don’t know what her maiden name was.  She lived in Custer when it was a major train stop.  Anyway, she was about 13 years old, and they’d come from Norway to Wisconsin.  Then from Wisconsin they came out here because the family had (What do you get when you get free land from the government?)  Responses: Grant, homestead.  Okay, so they all unloaded all their stuff in 1901 or ’02 in Custer which at that time was a major rail stop.  The building still there was a feed store when I knew it.  Anyway, they loaded all their junk, including this organ, on a wagon and walked for two days to Point Whitehorn where the (land) claim was, and (it’s) been there ever since.  She used to take it and play it at venues, always hymns and that kind of stuff.[And, there’s a picture of her in the middle over the keyboard…there’s an area you can open it up if you choose to.  I have a picture of her sitting in a house with her daughter, Ruth, who’s since deceased also, and in the background is the organ.  It’s kind of cool, so I’ve made darn sure I’d hold onto that.]She had two kids, Floyd and Ruth.  Ruth was a teacher in Blaine.  Floyd was a green’s keeper for father at the golf course.  It’s almost the only job he ever had Kathy:  Where was their home? Gorden:  Point Whitehorn.  I have no idea where…yes, I do.  When Richfield bought their large chunk of property the Anderson’s claim was in it.  Floyd had to move.  That was a big deal.  (Voice: That happened to a lot of people there.)  They probably took a whole section.  (Various voices and topics refinery, etc.)Earlier than that.  They brought it (the organ) out from Wisconsin with them.  They came out in ’01, I believe it was.  She (Walborg) was a hundred and something when she (“croaked”) died.  Well, it was a Kimball.  They made millions of those things.  They were cheaper than a piano and it was an ego thing to have an instrument like that in your house…even if you never played it.Kathy: Now where was it when you got it?Gorden:  Floyd moved southeast of Birch Bay just a little bit [and was a terrible packrat, etc.)  Anyway, he lived in this house and there was a old upright piano and this organ.  And, they were way back in the junk.  Finally, we got to it.  And, I had the piano tuner that works on the…that one (indicating a piano Gorden has in his own house) go with me.  And, we looked at the stuff.  You know, and so, I gave his (Floyd’s) estate $25.00 for it or something just to get title to it, if you will.  But, anyway, I wanted to keep it because it belonged to Walborg and it had a lot of history.  At her eulogy one of the young guys that was talking about her, a friend of the family, said something about Walborg used to take her organ and play it, and the whole congregation…(various voices diverse unrelated topics)Transcribed by Kathryn J. McDevitt    (referred to as Kathy in the body of the interview)

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