First Reformed Church’s sanctuary once was adorned by colorful stained glass windows. Parts of these treasures remain. Some are displayed in the breezeway which connects the sanctuary to the education building. Others are still intact; they were undamaged from the 1971 fire. Of course these are in the vestibule and steeple areas.
Here is a short listing of windows before the fire:
- In 1891, the first memorial window was installed. It was given by Mrs. Ira C. Voorhees. Consistory stipulated a new policy that the windows had to be at least $200 in value and follow a consistent pattern in their borders.
- In 1894, Consistory approved using income from the Post Legacy for a window in memory of Misses Margaret and Abbie Post.
- In 1898, Lewis A. & I. Edgar Powelson gave a window in memory of their parents, Mr. & Mrs. Cornelius Powelson.
- In 1903, a window was given by Dr. J. Ackerman Coles in memory of his grandparents. It depicted the Angel’s message to shepherds.
- In 1905, Dr. Coles’ sister, Miss Emilie S. Coles gave a window in memory of her uncles George, Warren and James Harvey Ackerman entitled “The Ascension” and another window for her aunts, Mrs. Jane C. A. Bucknell & Mrs. Mary S. A. Hoyt entitled “The Resurrection”. Then she donated eight windows for the balconies in grateful appreciation for the instruction she had received through the Sunday School. Later Miss Coles gave the windows over the doors and in front of the church.
The stained glass windows of First Reformed Church are traditional leaded windows. They were fabricated using the following types of glasses: American Cathedral glasses [which is a transparent colored glass with a mechanical finish imparted by a roller], American opalescent glasses [which is an opaque, multicolored glass] and handmade, mouth-blown antique glasses and painted in the traditional Trace and Matte technique of glass-painting.
The majority of the glass that is used in the windows is called American Opalescent glass, which was invented in the mid-1800’s by an American glass artist named John LaFarge. It became popular when Louis Comfort Tiffany of the famed Tiffany Studios of New York began using it extensively in his window and lamp creations. One of the outstanding features of the opalescent glass is that it is opaque and both reflects and transmits light. This means that, unlike other types of stained glass, color in the glass is visible from the exterior during the day.
During our yearlong celebration of the sanctuary’s 200th Anniversary, we are collecting donations for the repair of the large, stained glass rose window which is located in the steeple, visible from Hiram Square. Here is a list of what will need to be done in order to restore this window:
- Removal of the storm covering
- Removal all of the leaded stained glass panels and transport to the studio, where each will undergo historic, then reinstallation
- Covering of the window with ¼” clear float glass utilizing which holds exclusive FLEX-span protective covering system. This covering shall be ventilated.
- Removal loose paint on the outer surface of the millwork and repaint with two coats of paint.
Please join us in celebrating the sanctuary as well as repair an ‘old’ treasure!