"Goldie" the Piano

Susie's Paris Trip

In 1912, as Hiram Dillon began construction on their new “entertainment friendly” home directly across the street from the State Capitol of Kansas, Susie sought the comfort and pleasures of Paris.

 

A Pianist's Wish Come True

While there, Susie Dillon commissioned the creation of a personal custom-made Rose Wood Piano, which she had gilded. The piano, which is of rosewood and covered with leaf gold, was made in France by Mehlin and Son, and was purchased by the Dillon’s at a reputed price of $2,500." (Roughly $62,500 in today’s money.)

 

“Goldie” Brought Back to Life

“Goldie’s” life is nothing short of spectacular and historical. She has had great moments, and tragic times.

 

THE HISTORY OF “GOLDIE” - SUSIE DILLON’S PIANO

Creating History in a Historic Creation
CRONOLOGICAL TIMELINE OF “GOLDIE’S” LIFE AND TRAVELS

Late Fall 2014, “Goldie” returns home, fully restored, and concert ready for the first time in over 73 years. WELCOME HOME!

Spring 2014 – “Goldie” is fully restored, and is waiting for the house renovation to be completed and returned to the Dillon House. Once again she will be enjoyed by many, and played by “masters” and greats of the day.

October 2013 thru September 2014 – multiple talented and qualified piano craftspeople dedicate themselves to a Historic restoration of the 100+ year old Dillon Piano. The needs were extensive and the costs more than tripled from the initial bid provided to the State. Pioneer Group, owners of the Dillon House, agreed to pay for all the restorations, and have negotiated an arrangement with the Shawnee County Historical Society (actual owners of the Dillon House Piano) for its unlimited use at the Dillon House. During the restoration, the craftspeople identified gouges in parts of the piano case itself. They believe these were caused by pen knives, being thrust into the cabinet over the years, by individuals trying to determine if the piano was in fact, solid gold. It was not, but it was gold gilt.

September 25, 2013 – we “rescue” the piano from the storage facility in Kansas City after zero work had been done on it. The initial piano restoration firms estimates did not meet neither the expectations nor the cost required to return "Goldie" to concert quality.

June 6, 2013 – A restoration firm picks up the piano from the Dillon House to relocate it to Kansas City for restoration. The State of Kansas commissioned a Kansas City firm to restore it.

1980’s – 2013 – The Dillon House piano came home and resided in the basement of the Dillon House, relatively neglected.

1940’s, 50’s, 60’s, & 70’s – Goldie served as a functional instrument at the Municipal Auditorium for many years, enjoyed by thousands, played by “masters” and greats of the day, including the late Victor Borge.

July 16, 1941 - "The famous 'gold piano' from the Hiram Price Dillon home will go to the Municipal Auditorium. Harry Snyder, Commissioner of Parks and Public Buildings, bid it in for $115 Tuesday." This transaction provided the Dillon House piano, a new life, and a public forum for the world to enjoy.

October 27, 1937 – Susie Dillon passes, nearly 20 years after Hiram dies in 1918. The piano goes silent.

Spring 1914 – Susie Dillon and her new gold piano move into the Dillon House where she entertains guests on a regular basis after dinner in the Gold Room.