The Library Springfield-Greene County Library District Springfield, Missouri
Local History

Old Piano

 Old Pianos
Springfield Daily News, November 11, 1938

"In the early 1850’s, years before the Civil war, J. B. Beiderlinden bought two pianos from the Burns factory in Albany, N.Y. Mr. Beiderlinden was the first music teacher in Springfield. He bought one piano for himself, the other for Chas. Haden. Both have beautiful rosewood cases, real ivory keys and brass covered sound boards. Mr. Beiderlinden’s is six feet long, four feet wide and 18 inches deep. Mr. Haden’s was somewhat larger and inlaid with pearl.
   "At that time the railroad terminus was at Rolla, so the pianos were brought to Springfield on two-horse wagons. Being too large to be put into wagon beds, they were placed on hay frames packed with hay.
  "The Beiderlinden piano is still owned and used by his daughter, Mrs. W. E. Quinn. The younger generations of Hadens lost sight of theirs. Just recently one answering its description was located in the ‘Castle’ at Ha-Ha-Tonka park, near Lebanon, Mo. No other pianos of their description have been known in the Ozarks. The factory burned down shortly after Mr. Beiderlinden bought the two pianos and was not rebuilt. "Mr. Beide rlinden’s home was a brick house on South Avenue about halfway between the Medical Arts building and South Street Christian Church. During the Marmaduke raid on Springfield, officers appropriated the house for a barricade. The piano was hastily wrapped in bed quilts and set out in the garden. Cannonballs ricocheted about it, but it was unscratched. One cannonball took off a corner of the house and Colonel Snodgrass, who had been boarding with the Beiderlindens, was found lying face downward, dead, between the house and the piano."

There is a newspaper clipping file for John Beiderlinden in the Local History department at the Library Center. The file  contains a history of the piano written by Minna Beiderlinden Quinn in 1942. The file also has a 1975 newspaper article about the piano and includes the photographs that are used above. A that time the piano was owned by Irvin Selsor who lived on Senic Avenue. The piano is no longer located at the former Selsor home, now called Ms. Gilmore's Carriage House at Humbolt Place, but is part of the History Museum on the Square collection, who sent the photograph on the right. 

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