Organ repair costs reach over $1 million after vandalism at Firs - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Organ repair costs reach over $1 million after vandalism at First Bryan Baptist Church

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)
CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) -

Over one million dollars. That's how much it's going to cost to fix the historic Knauff Pipe Organ at Savannah's First Bryan Baptist Church.

Back in August, it was destroyed after a high and naked man broke in and vandalized the place. Chairs flung everywhere, stained-glass windows shattered onto the floor.

But it was the organ that suffered the most damage.

Pieces were taken apart and shipped to Atlanta in late August. Tuesday, we're learning just how much it will cost to repair.

All day Tuesday, church members were preparing 1,000 letters to mail out, asking for donations. The restoration company expects the repairs to cost at least $1.5 million.

They tell us they cannot start work on the piece until $1 million is raised.

The hefty price tag is because it's made up entirely of wood and metal and it dates back to 1856. It's been a part of the First Bryan congregation for well over 100 years.

"This organ is very historic. In fact, it's the last remaining pipe organ of its size, a three manual, or over 54 ranks. That is unique in its design and its concept. So it's the oldest existing tracker pipe organ that's pre- Civil War in the United States,” said Organ Restoration Company President Art Schuller.

We're told the letters mailed today is the first of two rounds. Next, church members will work on 7,000 to send out both locally and nationally.

There is also an online campaign to raise money for restoration, including a GoFundMe page.

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