Former church's stained glass windows to be relocated to public spaces

The blue/green and amber glass features geometric patterns

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Stained glass windows saved from a church that was demolished last year will find new homes at Kirkwood Community College and other sites in Cedar Rapids.

“It’s thrilling news,” said Kirkwood art instructor, Arbe Bareis, who is in charge of the college’s art acquisition for new buildings and renovations. “Kirkwood is truly the community’s college and I can’t think of a better place for the windows to go.”

Bareis said Kirkwood will receive the “lion’s share” of the 104 window panels removed from First Christian Church, 840 Third Ave. SE, before it was razed last May to make way for a parking lot for the Physicians' Clinic of Iowa medical pavilion.

Several of the windows also will go in the PCI medical pavilion’s Helen G. Nassif Community Cancer Center of Iowa, under construction at Second Avenue and 10th Street SE, as well as in the chapel of St. Luke’s Hospital.

The Carl & Mary Koehler History Center organized a review panel to decide which applicants would receive the century-old windows, created by celebrated glass artist Louis Millet.

Besides Kirkwood, the panel also awarded windows to:

  • Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation (two complete window sets)
  • Cedar Rapids Public Library (two complete window sets)
  • New Disciples of Cedar Rapids (four long window panels)

The blue/green and amber prairie-style stained glass features geometric patterns, rather than religious symbols. Sizes range from smaller 19-inch square windows to some nearly 10 feet tall.

Millet, credited with founding the Chicago School of Architecture in 1893, collaborated with famed architect Louis Sullivan on several projects, including the Chicago Stock Exchange.

Bareis said Kirkwood will use the stained glass in protective window frames in its redesigned Linn Hall lobby, which is undergoing renovation and where tens of thousands of people go to classes and events annually. The target date for completion is late spring.

“The windows are absolutely stunning,” said Bareis, who had visited the church several years ago. “The light shining through the windows is breath-taking.”

For those artistic reasons, Bareis said it was important to keep as much of the collection together as possible.

Kirkwood also was awarded the room-sized skylight, but a final decision has not been made on where that will go.

The Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation plans to showcase windows in Foundation Hall, a convening space on the main level of its site at 324 Third St. SE in downtown Cedar Rapids.

Those windows will be visible to motorists and pedestrians traveling Fourth Avenue SE.

Library director Bob Pasicznyuk said windows will be incorporated in an interior reading room with bricks from the demolished Sinclair smokestack and historical photos.

The new library, under construction at 421 Fourth Ave. SE, is scheduled to open in late summer.

Pastor Stasia Fine said windows will be used in the New Disciples church to be built on Williams Boulevard SW, with a goal of opening in two years.

New Disciples was created with a merger of First Christian and Cedar Christian churches, so the windows are especially significant to former members.

“To carry that history into a new building and to allow new generations to appreciate them is an honor,” she said.


The review panel will consider applications for light fixtures that also were removed from First Christian Church. Information will be available later this month at The Carl & Mary Koehler History Center, 615 First Ave. SE. Call (319) 362-1501.


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