The golden pipes you see at one end of Macy's Grand Court are just decorations. The actual Wanamaker Organ is a vast, seven-story-high maze of pipes and baffles and bellows and wires and wooden stairways hidden behind the fake pipes.
When the organ was shipped to Philadelphia in 1909 from a world's fair in St. Louis, it took 13 boxcars to transport it here. Installation took two years.
John Wanamaker acquired the 10,000-pipe behemoth in a turn-of-the-century version of Storage Wars. It had been languishing in a warehouse in Missouri, and he bought it for the price of delinquent storage fees.
Wanamaker and his son Rodman then set up an organ factory in the attic of the store and employed as many as 40 men at a time between 1911 and 1930 to build some 18,000 additional pipes, for a grand total of 28,677 pipes weighing in at 287 tons.
The organ has been in use almost continuously since 1911. Macy's bankrolled extensive renovations and upgrades for the instrument's 100th anniversary.