Saratoga County

Stillwater church windows get new life

Colorfully filtered sunlight again graces the inside of the Stillwater United Church now that its 13
Beverly Frank opens one of the refurbished stained glass windows inside the Stillwater United Church on Tuesday afternoon.  Before they were refurbished, they could not be opened.
PHOTOGRAPHER:
Beverly Frank opens one of the refurbished stained glass windows inside the Stillwater United Church on Tuesday afternoon. Before they were refurbished, they could not be opened.

Colorfully filtered sunlight again graces the inside of the Stillwater United Church now that its 135-year-old stained glass windows are back following a seven month restoration project.

One rose-shaped window and nine vaulted windows were removed in October by Willet Hauser Architectural Glass and shipped to the company’s Winona, Minn., studio to be taken apart and cleaned. The company removed the lead around each glass piece and cleaned the glass separately before putting the whole window back together. The windows were brought back to the church and installed last month.

The project cost about $140,000, $10,000 more than original estimates. The church paid for the project through money it raised for an overall building renovation.

Lifelong parishioner Chris Nelson, the chairman of the church committee that oversaw the project, said the increased cost was due to wood that needed to be replaced and more painting than was initially expected.

“They have a whole new look,” Nelson said. “You [can] actually see like a texture in the windows that was not apparent before, and even different colors.”

The windows have images of various religion symbols, including a chalice and the greek letters of alpha and omega. Each window is made of American opalescent glass, which was developed in the 1800s by John LaFarge and Louis Comfort Tiffany.

The church used the Plexiglas windows that had been an outside weather shield in place of the stained glass windows while the windows were being restored in Minnesota.

The Rev. Charles Woodman said stained glass windows were originally used to teach theology to people who couldn’t read.

“We are taking care of an heirloom that we inherited from generations before,” Woodman said. “We’re being faithful.”

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