Cedar Rapids church sells historic organ for $1 - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cedar Rapids church sells historic organ for $1

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -

Betty Debban says she has been privileged to play on this rare historic pipe organ during Sunday services.

"The sound is wonderful," Debban said.

The large Verney organ was built in 1904 in Mason City.  Today it sits at Christ Episcopal Church in Cedar Rapids still in its original state.

But church leaders say it hasn't been played in three years, after deciding they couldn't afford to pay for its upkeep.

"There were little things that kind of kept going wrong.  The straw that broke the camel's back probably was the last one when the vestry decided we're not going to put any more money into it," Debban said.

Now, as the church looks to remodel its altar area to become more handicap accessible, leaders say there is no room for the instrument.

The problem has been, in three years, there hasn't been any interest to take the organ off the church's hand.  Not even at the organ's selling price of $1.

"A whole lot of parts and a lot of weight, and so, if we have serious offers, terrific," said Brian Franz, who works part time with the church.

Thanks to recent publicity, several musicians like Mark Meyer of Cedar Rapids are now showing serious interest in taking on this task.

"The person that takes hold of this needs to be a steward and makes sure that this is preserved," Meyer said.

A race against time to preserve a piece of history.

Church leaders say if they can't find a buyer within a matter of weeks, then the organ will be dismantled.

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