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HISTORY & PREHISTORY

Music Hall

Music Hall

This building was built as the "Recreation Hall" at Canyon Lodge in Yellowstone National Park, about 1910. It was disassembled in 1959 and moved to this site. The Music Hall now contains perhaps the world's largest collection of band organs and music machines left on public display. The largest organs are mostly Gavioli organs, made in Paris in the 1890's. There are also three Wurlitzer band organs, a Wurlitzer theatre organ, and several piano-based machines, as well as other circa-1900 arcade machines. The piano-based machines, include two violin players, were mostly built in Chicago circa-1911 - 1920's and shipped to Butte, where they were purchased by Charles Bovey in the late 1940's and are considered by collectors to be in remarkable condition. 

This building houses the biggest collection of music machines in Montana. Inside you will find the biggest music organ in the world. It is almost the size of a house. The 90-key intricately carved Gavolli military band organ is one of the "Headliners" in Nevada City Music Hall's collection nickelodeons (the very first juke boxes).

Pipe Organ

Built in Paris, France, about 1880, the instrument is 27 feet wide, 12 feet high and four feet deep. It was shipped to The Berni Organ Company, who was then the Gavolli distributor of New York. They had it in their showroom for many years before selling it to the N.A.B. Organ Company in Brooklyn. They in turn sold it to Charles Bovey, along with six other organs of smaller type. The old organs were restored by Oswald (Ozzie) Wurdeman and his son Tom Wurdeman both of Minneapolis. For a period of time the Music Hall was renamed the Wurdeman Music Hall as a dedication to all their hard work.

Mutoscopes were like early VCRs or TV sets. When a coin was put in the slot, they lit up. Customers looked inside and turned a crank to watch a little movie flip by.

Music Hall

"In the Music Hall, you'll also find the largest rifle in Montana and the enormous, elegant Chandeliers that once hung in the State Capitol building in Helena. The chandeliers will be heading back to the Capitol rotunda once the building's extensive renovation project is complete."

Music Hall

Special acknowledgement to: John D. Ellingsen.

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