Wednesday, November 25, 2015

We'll swing by and pick it up!

Having mentioned the birthplace of the Sousaphone in the post below, we may now speculate as to just when Sousa and/or Conrad may have swung by the Pepper building at 8th and Locust in Philadelphia to pick up the new horn (assuming, of course, that's how it went down - work with me!).

View of offices on the second floor of the Pepper building from the 1894 catalogue
Here's what we know for sure:

  • Pepper built and named the Sousaphone at some point during or just prior to October 1895.
  • It was played on all or part of the Sousa Band's three month cross-country tour that launched on January 1, 1896 in Washington, D.C.
  • Nine days and nine concerts later, that tour made a two-day stop in Philadelphia, where the Sousa Band performed three times at the Academy of Music. Here's the notice in the Philadelphia Inquirer on December 29, 1895:
  • The Academy of Music, which was built way back in 1857 and is still being used today, is located at the southwest corner of Broad and Locust Streets:
The Academy is the first reddish-brown building on the left
Here's how it looked in 1910
  • Pepper's building was just down the street on Locust - a mere six blocks away (see map below: the Academy is noted by the red tag; the Pepper building would have been right where that little yellow man is located at the bottom right):

That seems pretty convenient to me! Could it be that Pepper's new instrument was picked up at that time and taken on the rest of that tour? Who knows!

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