Stain Glass Window Restoration Begins

Removal of the four most deteriorated stain glass windows in the church edifice began on Monday, April 22nd by the crew from Willet Hauser Associated Glass. The beginning of work was preceded by a pre-construction meeting between Casey Deakman and A.J. Malconson representing the restoration company and Pastor Deters, Facilities & Grounds chair Toby Griggs, Clerk of Session Russ Fish, Pete Mann and Ernie Bliss representing the church. The project will be completed in two phases with the four most deteriorated windows taking priority. The second phase will restore the remaining stain glass windows in the church.

Following the Monday meeting, Willet Hauser’s two man crew began confirming the measurements of the window openings to permit the transparent covering that will protect the restored windows to be sized properly back in the company’s studio in Winona, Minnesota. Upon arrival of the portable man lift Tuesday afternoon, work began in earnest.

Although planning for this effort began last summer, the first visible steps of the project involved removal of the existing exterior plexi-glass coverings. The first window actually removed and rated for shipment to Winona was the high attic peak window facing Vaughn Avenue. The window opening was filled with OSB board until such time as the restored window is inserted back
into the wall. The openings created through the removal of the remaining windows of phase I will be covered with the a new transparent covering rather than wood sheathing. The removal of the windows involves several time consuming steps undertaken by the field crew after removal of the plexi-glass protective covering including removal of the tack nails and glazing holding the windows
in place. The windows are covered blue tape prior to removal to protect them while handling and preparing for shipment to the contractor’s studio. Once removed, the windows are lowered to ground level and placed in crates constructed on site to protect them during transport to
Winona. The removal of the second window, the sanctuary cloakroom window, occurred on the morning of Wednesday April 24th. As if to emphasize the deterioration that had occurred over the 122 years that the stain glass windows have been in place, portions of this window fell
apart during removal. The opening was closed with a transparency that mimicked the window that was removed. Like the first removal, this window was placed into a wooden crate constructed onsite and sized for the window to be placed within it. Each window was then packed between Styrofoam sheets for protection during shipment to the restoration company’s studio. The large arched Vaughn Avenue stain glass window will likely be the most challenging of the priority windows to be worked on. This window has 14 components which will require separate removal by the company’s field crew. The plexi-glass covering of the window was removed on Tuesday afternoon in preparation for removal the window itself. The first component of the window was removed on Saturday, April 27th with the opening once again closed with a protective transparency that resembled the removed window design. It was a joy to view this window once again in its creative glory as the artist intended without the reflective effect of the yellowing
plexi-glass covering.

The window restoration project will continue for the remainder of the year. The current on-site Phase I effort is expected to take about two weeks. During the project portions of the exterior sidewalks as well as parts of the interior of the church will be blocked from use by the work of the contractor. Users of the church are asked to use caution when visiting and to avoid areas in which work is actively underway.

Fundraising for the $150,000 restoration project continues. Members of the church who may not as yet taken the opportunity to participate in the restoration project are asked to prayerfully consider what they may be able to contribute to the necessary effort to restore and preserve these community treasures. Contact the church office or Paul V. P. for a stain glass  restoration project pledge form.

The restoration field crew from Willet-Hauser works to remove the plexi-glass protective covering from one of the phase I priority windows of the ongoing window restoration project.