Artists restore historic stained glass windows at local church

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Artists from a stained glass installation and restoration studio in New Jersey are hard at work this week restoring the historic stained glass windows of Zion Episcopal Church at 140 W. Liberty St.

Founded in 1857, J&R Lamb Studios, Inc., of Midland Park, N.J., is the oldest continuously operating facility in the U.S. for installing and restoring stained glass windows.  Over 15,000 new stained glass windows and 9,000 restorations have been completed, many of which can be considered some of the most important artistic works in the nation’s history, according to the company’s website.

Last year, Rome Community Foundation awarded a $10,000 grant to Zion Episcopal to have the church’s stained glass windows restored and repaired.  J&R Lamb Studios has completed work at the church in the past, including work on the church’s two “rose” windows, for which workers took out the frames of the glass and transported them back to their workshop in New Jersey.

Sandra Latimer, a representative of Zion Episcopal said unfortunately, while in the process of bringing the windows back to their workshop, their truck was stolen, with all the glass from one of the windows still inside.

“Fortunately it was recovered, intact with no damage to the glass at all, and they completed the work,” said Latimer.

She said it has been several years since any work had been done on the rest of the church windows, and there is much work that needs to be done to bring them back into order.

At least 25 years ago, plexiglass covers were installed on all the windows to protect them from stones and other debris, but over the years the glue on them has deteriorated, and some have fallen off, Latimer said. Lamb Studios will remove all the plexiglass on the Washington Street side of the church, and replace it with a type of venting material.

The quoted cost for the work, which includes 12 windows, and the removal of the existing protective coverings, scraping and repainting the frames, the scrape and clean of all the metal T-bars and ventilators, resealing the wood frames and covering each window with two pieces of laminated float glass, is approximately $50,000, Latimer said.

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