Brin Theater's iconic pipe organ returning to Menasha

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MENASHA, Wis. (WBAY) - An iconic piece of Menasha history will soon find its way home. The pipe organ from the Brin Theater, which accompanied silent movies in the theater's heyday, was removed decades ago. The organ could return to its almost exact same location more than half a century after it left.

A Menasha collector located the Brin Theater's pipe organ, almost a century old. It's currently in storage in California. (Photo provided)

Steve Krueger is a Menasha historian and collector of all things Menasha. He's spent years building up his collection of Menasha memorabilia, recently finding and then brokering a deal to buy the 1920's era pipe organ that used to entertain movie goers in the Brin theater nearly a hundred years ago.

According to Krueger, "It's probably the most iconic piece of history, left in Menasha that's in one piece. I have a lot of different aspects of Menasha in my collection but this is probably the most iconic piece that probably even exists today."

The organ, which spent decades in California before being moved to North Carolina, where Krueger says it's being stored in a garage, outlasted the building that originally housed it.

Menasha's historic Brin Building burned down in August of 2018. The lot sits empty now, but not for long.

"As all of these things start coming it's really exciting to see Menasha change and continue to be the heart of our community," says Menasha Mayor Don Merkes.

Steven Roark is the developer working on the Brin project. He says, "The plans for the Brin site, it's 46 market rate apartments, over 8,000 square feet of commercial retail, underground garage, surface parking and then my vanity project which is Steven's Fish Shack and Biscuit Barn."

Roark is hoping redevelopment of the Brin site will help to bring more culture to Menasha. Part of that culture will be to display the console of the Brin organ in the new development, with hopes to eventually build a special room for just the organ.

Krueger adds, "I have an agreement with the developer of that site to put the Brin organ back on site and we're going to work together to get it up and playing so it can be played for the public and plays and concerts."

Construction on the Brin site will hopefully begin this spring, that's around the same time Krueger will travel to North Carolina to start picking up the organ pieces. The console should be on display in about two years.