His second choice might be a college or a school. Long Island University owns an original pipe organ that is raised from beneath the gymnasium floor. Such an instrument really requires theater-size space, he said.
"It does not belong in a home, but there was no other way to save it," Wagner said. "It sounds good here, but would sound even better in a theater."
When the State Theatre's owner planned to raze the building and scrap everything in it, Wagner bought the Wurlitzer for $1,000. He and a dozen volunteers took it apart piece by piece, including all those hefty and pencil-thin metal pipes and an 800-pound chest, which had to be lowered three stories to the stage floor.
"We filled that stage three times just with parts," he said.
Then they hauled everything to Glen Arm.
"We had pipes covering the entire basement and garage floors," said Dee Wagner, married to Roy for 55 years and nearly as conversant in Wurlitzer lore. "All I had was a clear path to the washing machine. We already had five children, but somehow, the Wurlitzer became the baby of the family."
It took two years of painstaking labor to reconnect, rewire and restore the instrument to its former glory. It also meant carving out space in the basement for 8-foot-high pipes, the blower system, and building an entire room for the many musical parts, including a drum, a xylophone and a glockenspiel. Wagner added platforms to make all parts accessible. He also removed the solid wall by the staircase to the basement and paneled it with shutters that let air flow as the organ plays.
In 1971, the Wagners held the first of many concerts, and one of those volunteer movers gave them the exit sign from the theater to mark the occasion. It still hangs over the door to the garage. Frank Lybolt, the organist who played the last show at the State, played at that first cellar concert.
Even with no formal musical training, Dee Wagner said, her husband plays quite well. But he prefers to listen as other, more adept players ply the keys. He has invited many renowned artists to play it and hundreds to hear its familiar sounds at informal concerts. Dee Wagner's guest book offers an account of the visitors who have come from around the world to hear what many call the Wagner Wurlitzer.
"Everyone wants a chance to see it and maybe be able to say, 'I played a pipe organ,' " he said.
Over the years, the Wagners hosted lawn parties and opened all the windows and doors so guests could hear the organ. Once they located a silent Western film and ran it for guests as the organ accompanied the reel.
"The film was definitely secondary entertainment," Roy Wagner said.
Most of those luxurious theaters are gone, as are the versatile Wurlitzers. The company branched out to jukeboxes and other instruments before it went out of business a few years ago.
"We have to preserve those that remain," Smith said. "Think of it as a time machine that can take you to whatever era of music you want to hear. From baroque to rock, this organ is capable of anything."
Wagner acknowledges that parting with it will be difficult, but he remains determined to return it to the public's eye and ear.
"I will miss it because it has been an extremely big piece of my life," he said. "But I want everyone to have the chance to hear the sound that can't be beat."