Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures

The Needham Piano & Organ
Heritage Junction Historic Park

PIANO: [1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8]
ORGAN: [1][2][3]
DONOR: [Mark Gates]

W.W. Kimball Square Grand Piano, No. 75365, Mfg. Chicago, Ill., mfg. 1901.

Mason & Hamlin Organ Co., Style 245, No. 110672.

Originally owned by Henry C. and Lilly F. Needham; donated to the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society in December 2001 by Mark Gates.

Plaque on the piano reads:


    A gift from Henry Clay Needham to Lilly F. Taylor, April 17, 1879, the date of their marriage.
    First came to Newhall in the year 1889, aboard a wagon and was maintained at the present side [sic] of Eternal Valley Memorial Park which the Needham family owned for more than 50 years.
    The piano was moved into the Los Angeles residence of the Needham family in 1898 and returned in 1955 (approximately) to Nellie Mae Needham Miller's home.
    It was presented to her in Girard, Crawford County, Kansas. They were both residents of Lincoln Township.

The plaque notwithstanding, the piano was manufactured in 1901. Perhaps, sometime during the 20th Century, the family got its pianos mixed up. This information is provided by Frank Baxter of Piano World:

W.W. Kimball square piano, serial No. 75365, built 1901.

W.W. Kimball, made by:
Kimball Piano Co.
Established 1857
By William Wallace Kimball

Kimball Piano Group
P.O. Box 432
French Lick, Indiana 47432

    Kimball pianos in the 1870s used serial numbers in the 17000 to 24000 range. Kimball square pianos made by Hale used 40000 to 45000; Kimball squares made by Emerson used 14000 to 24000 (1870s).

    Kimball Piano Group (formerly Kimball Piano & Organ Co.) was founded in 1857 under the name of W.W.Kimball & Co. when Kimball, a poor Maine farmboy who had set up a business selling real estate and insurance in Iowa, moved to Chicago and opened up a piano store, convinced that there was money to be made supplying goods to "Western" pioneers.
    In 1959, Kimball was sold to the Jasper Corporation, an Indiana plywood and cabinet manufacturer and piano production was moved to Indiana. During the next two decades, Jasper, now called Kimball International, purchased the renowned Austrian piano manufacturer Bosendorfer in 1966, the highly respected U.S. piano maker Krakauer in 1980, supplier companies such as the English maker of the Schwander and Langer actions, Herrburger Brooks and timber lands, lumber mills, and firms in other industries necessary to its operations. Kimball International is now a Fortune 500 Company with involvements in furniture making, contract cabinetry, electronic subassembly, and plastics.
    The last Kimball pianos were made in 1996.

Sources of information:
    The Pierce Piano Atlas
    The Atlas der Pianonummern (Germany)
    The Musician's Piano Atlas (England)
    The Piano Book (Larry Fine)
    Piano (by David Crombie)
    Pianos and Their Makers (Alfred Dolge)
    The Piano Blue Book
    Piano Roles (James Parakilas)

(Submitted by) Frank Baxter

Now housed at Heritage Junction Historic Park in Newhall.

Photos by Leon Worden.

hs9005a: 300 dpi jpeg from digital image
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