March 2, 2010
GALVESTON – Restorers have rebuilt a 104-year-old Tiffany stained glass window that Hurricane Ike destroyed at Trinity Episcopal Church in Galveston, and the valuable antique is now being reinstalled behind the church's altar.
The window, titled "Christ and the Children" has been pieced together in the meantime thanks to some fortuitous timing and a previous restoration of a mirror-image window at an Ohio church.
When Ike struck, Willet Hauser Architectural Glass Inc., of Winona, Minn., already was working on a restoration program at Trinity and had taken hundreds of photographs of the window, including details of each section from both inside and outside.
Then, members of the Broad Street Presbyterian Church of Columbus, Ohio, heard of the damage and offered copies of cartoon rubbings used in the recent restoration of their similarly themed Tiffany window.
As a result, Willet Hauser craftsmen were able to repair some sections in the five-layer window from the thousands of shards collected from the Trinity church floor and to re-create other sections whose glass had been shattered beyond all repair.
Jim Hauser, of the company, said the rebuilding project was like working on a large jigsaw puzzle.
When he saw the fruits of the restorers' work, Trinity Episcopal's junior warden, Robert Ebert, told Hauser: "This is remarkable... You can never know how much this means to our church and as a sign we will recover. It has been 18 months and it is still a struggle, but this brings hope."