Four years after deluge, Rushford pipe organ restored


(Photo courtesy Ross Himlie Photography, Rushford, MN)

Heavy rain and flash floods destroyed more than half of the 700 homes and businesses in the southeastern Minnesota community of Rushford in 2007.

For weeks after the deluge, most of the town’s businesses remained closed and nearly all the damaged homes empty. The rain washed away homes, destroyed infrastructure and killed seven people.

Among the losses: the historic pipe organ inside Rushford’s stone-built Emmanuel Episcopal Church.

But slowly, the town rebuilt.

Nearly four years later, residents of Rushford and congregants of this small church will gather this weekend for a dedication ceremony in honor of the restored pipe organ.

This is a big deal for this small community. The rebuilt organ has been expanded from nine ranks to ten ranks with a solid state switching system. The console has been rebuilt and updated as well as the blower. And the wind chest and pipes–not damaged in the flood–are the originals.

Brian Williams, director of music and the arts at Calvary Episcopal Church in Rochester, will direct the Motet Choir from Calvary at the dedication. Mayo Clinic Carilloneur Jeffrey Daehn will also be on hand to give instrument demonstrations.

The dedication will be held at 4 p.m. Sunday at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, 217 West Jessie Street in Rushford. A reception will follow. The public is welcome to join in the celebration in honor of the restored pipe organ.

For more information, email Ben Scott at