Request Visitor Guide
Back to AC StoriesBack to AC Stories

See the Largest Pipe Organ in the World at Boardwalk Hall


Atlantic City’s Historic Boardwalk Hall is proud to proclaim several amazing firsts – and official “largests” as designated by The Guinness Book of World Records.

Fact: When completed in 1929, the Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall was the world's first and largest full-service convention facility.

Fact: The majestic structure of that historic hall was the largest in the world to be built without roof posts and pillars.
 
Fact: Boardwalk Hall also houses an enormous musical treasure: the Midmer-Losh Pipe Organ, which was then and is still today the biggest organ in the world.
 
The Guinness Book of World Records recognized the Midmer-Losh with multiple entries:
  • Largest pipe organ in the world based on the number of pipes – more than 33,110 in 449 ranks
  • Loudest musical instrument/loudest organ stop – with sound described as “a pure trumpet note of ear-splitting volume”
  • The only organ to have stops that run on record air pressure (100”) – about 30 times more than a normal organ stop
  • One of only two organs in the world with a true non-digital, accoustic 64-foot stop, the Grand Ophicleide stop is unique in the organ world because it’s a reed-flue hybrid
  • Largest musical instrument ever constructed – with eight organ chambers and nine 32-foot stops (stops are the components that control the amount of pressurized air going into the pipe chamber)
  • The biggest console with seven manuals [keyboards] and 1,200+ stop-keys complete with orchestral instruments, from flute to violin.

“Indeed, our organ does break every record and can claim to be the most powerful musical instrument on the planet,” organist Dr. Steven Ball, said. Designed by Atlantic County State Senator E.L Richards, who was also a noted organ architect, Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall organ took three years to build (1929–1932) by the Midmer-Losh Organ Company at a cost of approximately $350,000.

Historic Organs Restoration Project
Compare that to the extensive and complex 10-year $16 million restoration project that recently launched. The Historic Organs Restoration Committee (HORC) has been overseeing extensive renovations since the last decade and although much work has been done, it is expected to take many more years to completely repair the Midmer-Losh as well as the (Ballroom) Kimball, both located in Boardwalk Hall.

Speaking on behalf of the HORC, Dr. Ball said, “We have completed the first phase [30%] of restoration, which has taken six years.” After several decades of decline the biggest organ in the world recently made its public performance debut during the Miss America pageant. How was it? Ball said, “It’s quite something to play!”

Many of the challenges and rewards of repairing, replacing and restoring have been well documented. For an insiders’ look at the extensive and complex process of restoring the biggest organ in the world, check your TV guide listing for “Ultimate Restorations.” The made-for-television series, featuring the largest restoration projects of eight cultural American icons of the Golden Age, is scheduled to begin airing this fall on PBS.

Ultimate Restorations invites viewers to “watch history being made.” As dedicated master craftsmen transform a neglected, water-damaged Depression-era fixture into the biggest pipe organ in the world that garnered so many accolades from The Guinness Book of World Records. View the trailer for "The Midmer Losh: Breathing Life into the Beast."

Beginning in May, Boardwalk Hall is expected to resume free noon concerts in the main hall from Monday-Friday, followed by a chance to visit with Dr. Ball and take a 30-minute guided tour at no charge.

Visit the Biggest Organ in the World
Fact: Organists and enthusiasts don’t have to wait until next year nor tune into PBS to see the miraculous transformation of this musical masterpiece. Boardwalk Hall invites you to take an up close and personal look at the Midmer-Losh. Two-hour Boardwalk Hall Pipe Organ tours are available on the first and third Tuesdays of the month. The $20 per person donation goes directly to the Restoration Fund (students and children are free).