Originally published Sept. 13, 2012.
The 10 116-year-old stained glass windows at SS. Peter and Paul Catholic Church have received a little beauty treatment more than a century after their installation in the Huntington church.
The windows were placed in the church in 1896, and sometime after that it became apparent that the tall, narrow windows needed some protection.
A protective plexiglass covering was installed on the outer side of the stained glass to ward off "baseballs and stuff," says Rev. Ron Rieder the church's pastor.
The protective coverings were added about 40 years ago.
Unfortunately, the attempt to guard against schoolyard ballistics and harsh weather ended up causing its own long-term damage.
The covering used did not provide any ventilation and trapped moisture against the windows, which eventually started to erode the leading of the windows.
The church hired William L. Lupkin Designs, Inc., of Fort Wayne, to handle the window restoration work. In June, the company removed several sections of the windows for restoration. The project took longer than the expected five weeks, with the windows not returning to the church until the first week of September.
Larry Bonbrake, director of maintenance at SS. Peter and Paul and overseer of the project, says that William L. Lupkin Designs rebuilt sections of the windows that had weakened or cracked and built frames for new protective glass coverings.
"They're such a priceless piece of art to us," church secretary Kelly Jennings says. "That's why we're so careful."
The ground level windows, which previously were not covered with the plexiglass so that they could be opened, will now be closed off as they are included under the covering.
"We'd rather have them protected than have windows that open," Bonbrake says.
The new protective coverings will be ventilated to preclude any future damage to the stained glass, Rieder says.
Made for SS. Peter and Paul in 1896, the windows were purchased by Rev. J.H. Hueser from a glassmaker in Innsbruck, Austria. Hueser served as pastor of the Huntington church from 1880 to 1906 and was familiar with the glasswork of the area from his studies in Austria and ordination in Brixen, Tyrol, in 1863.
According to the church's history, the windows made an appearance at the Chicago World's Fair and claimed a top art prize before arriving in Huntington for installation.
The windows are titled "The Death of St. Joseph," "The Annunciation," "Adoration of the Shepherds and Magi," "The Agony in the Garden," "The Crucifixion," "The Resurrection," "The Communion of Saints," "The Descent of the Holy Spirit," "The Servant of the Servants of God" and "The Assumption and Coronation of Mary."
SS. Peter and Paul Church is open during the day.
Complete caption: Peter Lupkin (left) and Larry Hormann, of William Lupkin Designs, reinstall the stained glass windows at SS. Peter and Paul Catholic Church on Friday, Sept. 7. Several of the church’s windows were taken out earlier this summer to be restored by the company. The re-installation process was expected to take about four days.