Magazine article The American Organist

Pipe Organs of the Rich and Famous Horace Dodge's Steam Yacht Delphine

Magazine article The American Organist

Pipe Organs of the Rich and Famous Horace Dodge's Steam Yacht Delphine

Article excerpt

THE DODGE brothers began building chassis for Model A Fords in 1903, and by 1914 were building their own Dodge automobile. In 1911, Horace Dodge, the younger of the two Dodge brothers - and the "mechanic" of the two - bought a twomanual, 15-rank Aeolian organ (Opus 1175) for his new sandstone mansion, "Rose Terrace," in Grosse Pointe, Michigan.

An enterprising salesman of organs, hearing that Horace Dodge planned to install a great pipe organ in his mansion, tried to find a way to bring his organ to Dodge's attention. Knowing that Horace was an avid yachtsman who subscribed to leading boating magazines, the salesman ran a four-page advertisement for his organ in one of these magazines. His acumen paid off when Horace saw the advertisement and ordered the pipe organ for his home.1

In 1916, he enlarged the organ to 80 ranks (Opus 1319) and added a four-manual console.2

Over the years, Dodge's boats ranged from a 40-foot launch to two larger vessels, both named Hornet, the 180-foot Nokomis I, the 243-foot Nokomis II, and, always seeking more sleeping accommodations, in 1920, four months after his brother's death, Horace Dodge ordered the 258-foot Delphine, named for his only daughter.

Built at the Great Lakes Engineering Works shipyard at River Rouge (near Detroit), the Delphine was reported to have cost two million dollars. The interior of the five-deck ship was furnished by Tiffany and Co. The master cabin, 25 feet by 30 feet, included a private entrance, a lobby, a bath, and an electric fireplace. In addition to eight guest suites, there were a smoking room, a card room, an infirmary, and a promenade. The crew numbered 55, including personal servants whose accommodations were in the bow. The walnut main salon served as the music room and for it, Dodge ordered a twomanual, 16-rank Aeolian organ (Opus 1478). 3 Though it was publicized as costing $60,000, its actual price was a more realistic $19,140. Unfortunately, Dodge died in December, less than a year after his brother, so he was never able to sail the Delphine. His widow, Anna Thompson Dodge,4 saw it through to completion, and the yacht was launched sideways into the Detroit River on April 21, 1921. The largest yacht ever built in America, the Delphine would retain its superlative designation for the next 40 years.

Although this palatial yacht was used mainly for cocktail parties, she was also used for watching speedboat races in which Horace Dodge Jr. …

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