October 12, 2012

Church-window restoration under way


---- — PLATTSBURGH — Three stained-glass windows, facing south, in Trinity Episcopal Church were gingerly removed by workers of Rohlf’s Stained & Leaded Glass Studio of Mt. Vernon, N.Y.

Window number six was the last to be removed Wednesday morning.

“It was the most severely damaged … age … time,” said the Rev. Colin Belton. “They were put in in 1866. They have been restored once, in 1972.”

The studio employees started the removal process on Monday.

“They will take the windows back to the shop for restoration,” Belton said. “Sometime in the spring, they will be brought back. Part of that will be dependent on the weather.”

The cost of restoration for the three windows is $52,000.

“We have some money available to start the project, to actually do most of it,” he said.

Though not Tiffany, the painted-glass windows are very beautiful.

“The church couldn’t afford Tiffany,” Belton said. “Trinity Church in Shelburne, just south of Burlington, has Tiffany windows. The Trinity Church in Potsdam has Tiffany.”

The windows in Plattsburgh were purchased by former parishioners in memory of family members.

A venting window’s script reads: “In Memory of Samuel Beaumont.” The window will be redesigned to increase insulation value.

Dr. Beaumont, the son of William H. and Mary (Wright) Beaumont, was born in 1791 in Champlain. He married Charlotte Taylor and apprenticed with his famous first cousin, Dr. William Beaumont, the “Father of Gastric Physiology,” according to Plattsburgh City Clerk Keith Herkalo.

“One of the things Dr. (Samuel) Beaumont was noted for here in Plattsburgh was selling Essence of Smoke,” Herkalo said. “They used it to season meat.”

An east-facing window is dedicated “In Memory of Gen. Carlos A. Waite.”

Carlos Aldophus Waite was born May 5, 1797, in New York and died May 7, 1866, in Plattsburgh. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery. Waite served 44 years in the U.S. Army and was commander of Texas during the Civil War, according to Phil Signor on

“We’re trying to trace the ancestry right now,” Belton said.

The church plans to eventually restore all the windows at a cost of about $250,000.

“As money becomes available, we will do all of them. There will be additional costs for inflation,” he said.

Parishioner Keith Wills served as chairman of the ad hoc committee for window restoration.

“We located four or five companies,” Belton said. “We asked them to submit an estimate. We chose Rohlf’s.”

In Mt. Vernon, the windows will be cleaned and assessed.

“They will check the leading. When leading needs to be replaced, they will do that,” he added.

The 19th-century glass is very brittle. The vestry minutes do not reveal where the glass was manufactured.

“We’re trying to find out who made the decision to put the windows in and how much it cost originally. We have searched the vestry minutes, but we haven’t found everything,” Belton said.

Built in 1830, Trinity Episcopal Church is the oldest public building in Plattsburgh.

“The congregation incorporated in 1821,” Belton said.

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