Tarentum church restoring century-old stained glass
It's a view that hasn't been seen in Tarentum for 101 years.
Sitting on a scaffold high above Allegheny Street, Ralph Mills held the century-old stained glass panel from one of Central Presbyterian Church's windows.
Telling co-worker Jason Mur to get ready as Mur knelt on the edge of the balcony, Mills used a simple scraper to loosen the deteriorating lead holding a multitude of glass pieces together.
It was time to move the panel — one of eight in the window — out of the frame.
With the panel halfway out and the sunshine bursting into the church's balcony, Mur asked Mills to wait. He had to put tape on loose glass.
After that, Mills gingerly pulled the 25-pound, 3-foot panel out of its rusting frame, whispering, “Oh, yeah. Come to papa.”
For the first time since 1913 when the windows were installed, someone could look through outside through the opening created by the missing panel.
“You wonder what happened inside this church in the years the windows were there,” Mur said. “How many services and revivals were held here? How many funerals? How many weddings?”
“Thousands,” said Mills, co-owner of Pittsburgh Stained Glass Studios in Pittsburgh's West End.
The company will clean, repair, preserve and reinstall 12 windows for Central Presbyterian. The openings will remain boarded up until the windows are returned by fall, said church leader Dave Rankin.
The windows' true colors haven't been seen in years.
A hundred years of street grime and pollution have seeped between the layers of glass, Rankin said. Protective plastic was installed in the late 1960s to protect the windows from rocks, but it has since yellowed, obscuring the colors.
Church family, donations spearhead repairs
Two Broadfoot sisters married in the church.
Patricia Broadfoot Hill and her sister Joyce Broadfoot Borp remember the window's beauty.
Patricia married Wilbur Hill in 1959 and moved away because of his job. They now live in Buffalo Township. Joyce married James Borp in 1963 when they, too, left the Valley for work. They now live in Saxonburg.
Their grandfather, William P. Broadfoot, was a plasterer by trade and charter member of Central Presbyterian.
Their mother, Gertrude Broadfoot, was a church elder. In 2000, she set aside money to renovate the window to memorialize the Broadfoot family.
The church's plan calls for one sanctuary window, about 8 feet wide and 12 feet tall depicting Jesus the Good Shepherd, and 11 smaller stained glass windows to be cleaned and refitted by the company at its studios.
The Good Shepherd window likely was inspired by the painting of the same name by Bernhard Plockhurst and based on the Bible's John 10:14: “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.”
Church members will use their money, funds from the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Commission and a lesser amount from the Ira Wood Charitable Trust to renovate the first 12 windows.
The congregation doesn't know how or when two large, stained glass windows in the sanctuary will be renovated.
In addition to worship services led by the Rev. Robert Dayton, the church has a Holy Smokes Cafe food ministry, several Alcohol Anonymous meetings, senior citizens line dancing and community dinners.
Each month, the congregation collects new children's undergarments and socks for the clothing closet.
At the Holy Smokes Cafe, people are encouraged to attend worship services upstairs but some choose to remain downstairs to talk and enjoy the reduced price meals.
Chuck Biedka is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4711 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- New Kensington-Arnold employee suspended over alleged inappropriate contact with student
- Bell Township police shooting suspect headed to trial
- Burrell’s curriculum evolves creatively
- Stretch of Route 56 to close
- Knoch graduate a success in male-dominant profession
- Brackenridge high-rise infested with bed bugs
- Machinists ranked No. 1 occupation by Department of Labor
- West Deer police add holding cell
- Municipal Authority of Washington Township to call out delinquent ratepayers
- Buffalo Township woman sentenced to jail for selling pot
- Positives seen despite Valley Junior-Senior High School performance scores