Dobson Pipe Organ Builders President and Owner, John Panning, announced today (Thursday) plans for a public groundbreaking ceremony for their new facilities in Lake City. The announcement comes two years to the day that a devastating fire destroyed the iconic musical instrument shop on the northeast corner of Lake City’s downtown. Panning says it has been a challenging couple of years for the company and staff.
Panning announced in February 2022 that Dobson Pipe Organ Builders had contracted with Des Moines architects, ASK Studios, and Carroll’s Badding Construction to rebuild on the same site in Lake City. Lake City is not the first place most people would think of as the home of one of the world’s premier organ manufacturers. Panning says they had considered relocating to an area where international shipping was not as much of a challenge. In the end, he says Lake City was the place that felt like home for the company.
The public is invited to join the Dobson Pipe Organ Builders team on Wednesday, July 5 at 10 a.m. for the formal groundbreaking at the corner of Illinois and Washington Streets in Lake City. Panning says the community has been so supportive of their operations since the 2021 fire that they want to include everyone in their celebration.
The building was not the only thing lost in the fire. The 99th organ Dobson’s was building, known as an opus, that was destined for St. James Church in Sydney, Australia, was also destroyed. That project was about 20 percent complete at the time of the fire, and Panning says they hope to have the replacement installed sometime next year.
Fittingly, Dobson’s Opus 100 is going to the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, Penn. for the school’s centennial celebration. Again, the Dobson Pipe Organ Builder’s groundbreaking is scheduled for 10 a.m. on July 5, and all are invited to attend. The full interview with Panning from Thursday morning on KCIM is included below.