Glens Falls Temple of Music

“Like a smile on the face is the charm of the Chase,” was the advertising slogan of 19th Century organ manufacturer A. B. Chase.

Chase organs, manufactured in Norwal, Ohio; Taylor & Farley organs, manufactured at Worchester, Mass.; and New Haven melodions, manufactured at New Haven. Conn. were among the brands sold early on at W.F. Bissell’s Temple of Music store that operated in downtown Glens Falls for more than four decades.

“Business can hardly be called dull in Glens Falls, judging from the large quantity of organs going into the ‘Temple of Music” from manufacturers and out to purchasers,” The Morning Star reported on Aug. 23, 1884. “Glens Falls people are getting to know the difference between cheap musical goods and those of reputable makers, and Mr. Bissell’s sticking to the first-class and ignoring the cheap goods will, no doubt, reap the benefits of having public confidence.”

Bissell didn’t just sell instruments.

He performed music, organized concerts, and fostered the love of music in young people.

“He was endowed with a beautiful tenor voice, and for thirty years sang in the choir of the Presbyterian Church of Glens Falls, and for many years was director of that choir,” according to a Post-Star obituary. “He was always interested in young people with musical ability, and was the means of encouraging many of the younger people in Glens Falls to pursue a musical education.”

Bissell was co-founder of the Troy Vocal Society before moving to Glens Falls.

Bissell, a Civil War veteran who lived on Center Street, operated Temple of Music in the Crandall building at Monument Square from 1879 until his death in May 1923.

After his death, Braydon & Chapman, another downtown music store, bought out Bissell’s remaining inventory.

Freelance history writer and documentary film producer from Ticonderoga, NY