Old Dominion
Theatre Organ Society
Harold Leslie Warner, Jr.
A WHOLE ORCHESTRA AT HIS FINGER TIPS. Harold Warner, Jr., seated at the console of
the concert organ in the Richmond, Va., civic center. This famous organ, dusty and mute for
many years, was about to be dismantled until it was restored by Mr. Warner, a telephone
company craftsman.
The Once Proud Pipe Organ That Played Again
~~For ten long years, the great
organ had stood mute. Time and
dust had robbed it of its song.

~~Now it looked as if it would never
play again. For the cost of
restoring it was $30,000, and that
was more than the city's auditorium
could afford.

~~But before it could be
dismantled, Harold Warner, Jr.,
offered his services. He was a
central office repairman for the Bell
Telephone Company in Richmond,
Va., and a fine amateur musician.
~~He loved organ music and he had
repaired and maintained several
other fine instruments. The city gladly
gave him permission to work on the
big organ.

~~It took most of his spare time for
two years. Thirteen hundred and
eighty-four pipes had to be cleaned.
Hundreds of small parts had to be
checked and polished; thousands of
electrical connections tightened.

~~It was a big job but he got it done.
The cost to the city? Just $32.50 for
small parts.
~~You can imagine the thrill when
he seated himself at the organ and
its mighty voice was heard again.
In recognition of his work, the
Mayor of Richmond, Dr. Edward E.
Haddock, presented him with the
Sertoma Club's Service to Mankind

~~Harold Warner, Jr., is just one of
many thousands of telephone
people who give their own time and
talents to helping the communities
in which they live. In all things, on
and off the job, they aim to be
good citizens.

Commemorating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Harold Leslie Warner, Jr.

WHEREAS, Harold Leslie Warner, Jr., was born on April 9, 1914, in Texas, and moved to Richmond in 1921; he graduated from
Thomas Jefferson High School and was the school’s first drum major; and

WHEREAS, at the age of 11, Harold Warner suffered partial paralysis and began playing the organ as a means to help strengthen
his left arm; he was a natural musician who played by ear with no technical training; and

WHEREAS, in 1932, at the age of 18, Harold Warner restored the historic Trinity Methodist Church organ, built in 1839 by Henry
Erben, one of the most eminent American organ builders of the 19th century; at the time, the Trinity Methodist Church organ was the
oldest in Richmond and one of the oldest organs in the country; and

WHEREAS, Trinity Methodist Church acquired the organ in 1861, shortly after the church was built in 1860 at 20th and Broad
Streets, and Harold Warner was organist of Trinity Methodist Church from 1933 to 1935; Trinity Methodist Church relocated to Forest
Avenue in Henrico County in 1945; and

WHEREAS, in 1950, the Wurlitzer pipe organ in the Landmark Theatre (formerly known as the Mosque and also the Richmond Civic
Center) was to be junked when the City of Richmond was unable to fund the estimated $30,000 needed to recondition the instrument
after years of neglect; Harold Warner volunteered his services to save the organ; and

WHEREAS, Harold Warner and other volunteers, notably William Spencer Jones, spent nearly two years of their own time repairing
and refurbishing the organ; the city was billed just $32.50 for parts; and

WHEREAS, after Harold Warner completed repairs to the organ, the magnificent instrument was widely heard over nationally
broadcast concerts and through recordings by international and local artists, including Reginald Foort of the British Broadcasting
System and Richmond’s own Eddie Weaver; these broadcasts and recordings brought fame to the City of Richmond and the
Commonwealth; and

WHEREAS, Harold Warner was presented the Sertoma Club Award for Service to Mankind in April 1954 by the Mayor of Richmond,
Dr. Edward E. Haddock, in recognition of his work to restore the organ; and

WHEREAS, Harold Warner was a valued Bell Telephone employee for over 26 years; in November 1953, Harold Warner played
during the Bell Telephone Company presentation of the 50 millionth telephone to President Dwight D. Eisenhower; and

WHEREAS, on March 15, 1954, Harold Warner was featured performing on the mighty pipe organ during a live broadcast of the
Telephone Hour
radio show, heard coast to coast in the United States; and

WHEREAS, the Bell Telephone Company featured Harold Warner in a full-page advertisement that was published in many national
magazines during the 1950s, recognizing him as one of the company’s outstanding employees who gave of his own time and talents
to help his community; and

WHEREAS, Harold Warner entertained thousands of Virginians as the organist of the Byrd Theatre from 1958 to 1961; and

WHEREAS, Harold Warner was an active member of the Association of Theatre Organ Enthusiasts, now known as the American
Theatre Organ Society; he worked tirelessly to arrange the June 1961 national meeting of the group in Richmond; this was the first
national meeting of the organization to be held on the East Coast and attracted a record attendance of over 400 members from
across the country; and

WHEREAS, Harold Warner passed away on February 14, 1961; he brought great honor to the Commonwealth through his
craftsmanship, talent, dedication, and community service; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED by the House of Delegates, the Senate concurring, That the General Assembly hereby commemorate the 100th
anniversary of the birth of Harold Leslie Warner, Jr.; and, be it

RESOLVED FURTHER, That the Clerk of the House of Delegates prepare a copy of this resolution for presentation to the American
Theatre Organ Society as an expression of the General Assembly’s gratitude to the organization for its dedication to the preservation
of historic theatre organs.
Agreed to by the House of Delegates, March 3, 2014
Agreed to by the Senate, March 5, 2014
*     *     *
Harold passed away on February 14, 1961, in the Mosque organ control room while fine-tuning the instrument for an upcoming
national meeting of theatre organists. The massive heart attack that claimed his life was most likely caused by climbing the many
flights of stairs between the first-floor organ console and fifth-floor control room.  He is buried in Riverview Cemetery - a short
distance from the Altria / Landmark / Mosque Theatre and the organ he loved so much.
A Chapter of the American Theatre Organ Society
Commonwealth of Virginia - The Old Dominion
Harold Warner, Jr. - Mosque / Landmark / Altria Theatre