Kan. landmark bracing stained-glass windows for tornadoes
The 140-foot twin towers of the cathedral rise above the prairie near Victoria in western Kansas. One of the most well-known structures in the state, the church serves about 480 families. The $155,000 restoration is being paid for through donations and fundraising, The Wichita Eagle reported.
The church was built in 1911 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971. Its stained-glass windows were installed in 1916 and are now valued at more than $1 million. The window refurbishing is the latest in a series of restorations St. Fidelis parishioners started in 1994.
A plastic covering installed on each window in the mid-1980s to protect them from Kansas storms has grown opaque, making it difficult to see the beauty of the windows. The current project will install new tempered safety glass coverings.
“The main concern with the stained glass at St. Fidelis was the protection,” Carrie Crow Thiele, owner of American Consultation on Stained Glass in Aurora, Colo., wrote in an email to the Eagle. Her company was hired by the church to supervise the work on the windows.
The tempered-glass covering must be measured for each window and cut in the factory, then brought to Victoria for installation. The project should be completed within a month.
“The plastic could withstand 185 (mph) winds, but with all the negative problems with appearance, we recommend tempered glass,” said Kelly Hillburn, who works with Thiele. “It will handle winds up to 150 mph. And when you have winds that high, you’ve got bigger problems than saving the windows.”
Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, http://www.kansas.com
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