A window into history

Northern Colorado Stained Glass owner Ruth Wallick inspects the condition of the United Presbyterian Church stained-glass window at its old location at Sixth Street and Grand Avenue on Wednesday before it is removed. The window, at the location since 1907, will be installed at the United Presbyterian Church’s current location at 11th Street and Grand Avenue after being restored and cleaned. JEREMY MARTIN/Boomerang photographer

United Presbyterian Church is reclaiming a piece of history from more than a century ago: a stained-glass window from its old location at the corner of Sixth Street and Grand Avenue.

Today, the church is located about five blocks east, on 11th Street — its third home in Laramie, United Presbyterian Pastor Jason Harshberger said.

“They moved to (the Sixth Street site) in 1906, 1907, because the first church, that was over kind of in that area where Qdoba is, burned,” he said. “And they moved here, and this was home for 45 years. And then, we transitioned up to 11th and Grand, and that’s been home for the last 60-plus.”

The first step in acquiring the old stained-glass window took place Wednesday afternoon, when workers from Cowboy Glass carefully removed the piece of glass from just above the Sixth Street site doors.

Harshberger estimates the stained glass dates back to around 1906 and plans to have the window reframed and inserted in the side of the current church building facing Grand Avenue. The window would be visible from the street and be lit inside and out, he said.

“It says ‘Presbyterian’ underneath the red paint up there,” he said. “So, we felt that this was an important historical piece for our church to get.”

Ruth Wallick, owner of Northern Colorado Stained Glass Supply — the company restoring the window — said it would likely be a few years until the glass is placed at the current church site. Her company previously worked on a separate, larger stained-glass window at the Sixth Street site, she said.

“I’m going to be doing a full restoration on it, which means I’m going to be completely rebuilding it with all new lead and new metals,” she said. “Because the metals — the lead starts to deteriorate after about 100 years, and since it’s being moved and everything it’s a good time to do that. And then, it’s good to go for another 100 years.”

The process involves numbering the pieces in the window, taking a pattern, cutting the window apart and recycling the old lead, she said. The old glass is also cleaned, and the pattern is used to rebuild the window in its original frame.

“It’s big, and that’s a bit of a challenge, because you have to work into the middle on this piece, and a lot of the time standing up on a block, leaned over a table,” she said.

Norm Merriam, who attends United Presbyterian, said he was looking forward to having the artwork installed in the current building.

“I think it’s neat, stuff that old,” he said. “I’m sure it means a lot more to some of these older people ... I’ve only been there a couple years, but some of these people have been members for 60 years. I suppose that they think this is really neat. And it’s got a lot of the historical stuff. But I imagine there are people in the church whose parents and grandparents went to this church and used that window.”

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