Winchester in Cheshire County, New Hampshire — The American Northeast (New England)
Over Two Centuries of Music Innovation
Henry Pratt and Samuel Graves Make History
In 1799, Winchester native Henry Pratt built what is regarded as the first pipe organ in New England. Pratt, a carpenter and self-taught craftsman, is thought to have been inspired by an English-imported church organ he had once seen as a young man.
By the time of his death in 1841, Pratt had built at least 40 church organs, a number of fifes and violins, and mentored several instrument makers. Upon completion, his original 1799 organ was given to Winchester for use in its meetinghouse. The fully restored organ is now on permanent
Winchester's other notable contribution to American musical heritage was made by Graves & Co., the first shop in the United States to manufacture woodwind and brass instruments.
Founder Samuel Graves moved the company to Winchester in 1830 in order to utilize the water power of the Ashuelot River. Innovations in production were timed perfectly with the rise of local brass and woodwind bands — highly desired amenities in entertainment-starved communities across America. With the company's progressive use of water-powered machinery and technical improvements in production, Graves & Co. became one of the most important manufacturers of wind and brass instruments in mid-19th century America. The company operated in Winchester until 1850, when it relocated to Boston — ultimately merging with E.G. Wright Company to form the Boston Musical Instrument Company in 1869.
A Legacy of Creativity & Innovation Continues
While the resource and economic factors that made Winchester such a force in the 19th century have changed, the spirit of innovation remains strong. Pisgah State Park has become a mecca for hiking and recreation. Demand for local food has created new opportunities such as the Winchester Farmer's Market and New England Sweetwater Farm & Distillery.
To visually capture the town's musical heritage, the
A project of Friends of Public Art, support for this kiosk was generously provided by Winchester Economic Development Corporation, New Hampshire Humanities and designed by Rachel Boothby Guolco, Murry McClellan, and Rowland Russell.
Erected by Friends of Public Art, Winchester Economic Development Corporation, and New Hampshire Humanities.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Arts, Letters, Music • Entertainment • Industry & Commerce. A significant historical year for this entry is 1799.
Location. 42° 46.349′ N, 72° 23.036′ W. Marker is in Winchester, New Hampshire, in Cheshire County. Marker is on Main Street (New Hampshire Route 119) just north of Parker Street, on the right when traveling north. Marker is located near the sidewalk, in front of the Conant Public Library. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 111 Main Street, Winchester NH 03470, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Winchester Community Park (a few steps from this marker); Conant Library (a few Town of Winchester World War I Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); Veterans Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); Leonard Wood (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Winchester Civil War Monument (about 300 feet away); Winchester Memorial Church (about 400 feet away); Francis Parnell Murphy (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Winchester.
Also see . . .
1. A Chapter on Church Organs. Henry Pratt was a carpenter, being taught that trade by his father. He possessed much ingenuity, employing his leisure hours in making wooden clocks, fifes, violins, surgical implements, tools for his own use, etc. He was extremely fond of music. With his limited amount of knowledge and skill, but with much ingenuity, he overcame all obstacles, and turned out an instrument superior in all points to the one he had taken as a model. After that, Pratt constructed twenty-three church organs and nineteen chamber organs. They were all of small size, possessed but one row of keys, and from four (Submitted on August 17, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
2. Graves & Co. 9-Keyed Bugle. Samuel Graves began making instruments in West Fairlee, Vermont from 1824 to 1830. He moved to his shop to Winchester, New Hampshire in 1830. The company was owned by Samuel Graves and Charles Alexander, and known as “Graves & Alexander” and later as “Graves & Co.” After 1845, the company exclusively made brass instruments. (Submitted on August 17, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
Credits. This page was last revised on February 16, 2023. It was originally submitted on August 17, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 187 times since then and 69 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on August 17, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.