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Famous BHS alumnus: Caretaker of the world's largest organ

By Fred Steiner

Roscoe Evans
April 21, 1889-Sept. 13, 1968

Bluffton has a long history of persons with outstanding musical talents. But only one, Roscoe Evans, can claim he tamed the king of instruments, the organ. He spent 23 years of his career as caretaker of the world's largest organ.

Born in Delphos, Roscoe Evans' family moved to Bluffton where Roscoe attended Bluffton schools until his high school years. However, the Evans family moved from Bluffton to Van Wert in 1905. Had the family remained here, he would have graduated with the class of 1907. 

Prior to moving to Van Wert, his father, John B. Evans, operated a livery stable in a barn that was originally located on the property that today houses The Curling Iron at 129 N. Main Street. 

It is possible that the Evans family moved from Bluffton as a result of the growth of the Main Street business district. The present building at that address was constructed in the early 1900s. Perhaps that's when the livery stable came down.

We know very little about the education path Evans followed after moving from Bluffton.  It is not known if he ever graduated from high school, but his musical abilities compensated lack of any degree in higher education, making his story among the most unusual in this series.

We do know that the musical instrument of his eventual choosing was one Mozart called the King of Instruments.

Roscoe Evans became the caretaker and maintenance person of the world’s largest organ, housed in a building 10 stories high to house its 33,056 pipes.

Here's his story:

The Evans family left Bluffton in 1905, going to Van Wert. There Evans learned to tune pianos in a factory. He may not have traveled the world, but he certainly saw more of the United States than any of his former Bluffton classmates.

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