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Shea's provides update on Wurlitzer Organ restoration

The organ is set to be ready in time for the center's 100th anniversary in January 2026.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The nearly $400,000 renovation of Shea's Mighty Wurlitzer is well underway and should be complete for the center's 100th anniversary in 2026.

On Wednesday, Shea's Buffalo Theater announced that the organ is now in phase three of the seven stage rebuilding process, which started in 2020.

The organ is one of the top Wurlitzers in North America, according to Shea's.

“Shea’s Wurlitzer organ is a global asset and a unique part of our city that needs to be recognized,” said Shea’s Director of Operations Robert Brunschmid. 

“It’s a legacy of Buffalo’s Golden Age, but its excellence remains evident today.”

The project has been funded by a $20,000 grant from the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo as well as $25,000 from the  Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Legacy Funds at the Community Foundation, which was awarded in the spring of this year. 

Shea's is still working to raise the remained of the funds needed. In phase three, $160,550 in work will be completed.

The organ was build in North Tonawanda by the Rudolph Wurlitzer Co. and was installed in December 1925 for $72,500 or about $1.15 million today. This organ is one of 12 in the world that is still in the building that it was originally installed.

After a concert given as part of the American Theatre Organ Society annual conference at Shea’s in July 2019, Ken Double of ATOS said:

“I cannot emphasize to you in any stronger terms the ‘gold standard’ of theatre pipe organ that sits in those chambers at Shea’s Buffalo. It is not simple hyperbole, but fact. If one were ranking or awarding top honors for the finest sounding theatre organ in the world, Shea’s Buffalo could be arguably No. 1, and most certainly top three.”

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