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Returning the sparkle and shine

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Popular chapel gets needed upkeep

By Alix Mattingly

 

The Duncan Memorial Chapel in Crestwood is getting a much needed face lift.

The 21 stained glass windows that line the chapel are being restored to make them more visible from the outside, Ted Merhoff, secretary of the Floydsburg Cemetery, said.

“Stained glass has a life time that requires a lot of maintenance,” Merhoff said.

The windows were last serviced around 30 years ago when Lexan, a polycarbonate resin, was installed in panes over the windows to protect them, Merhoff said. The resin has since dulled, making it hard to view the windows from the outside.

Willet Hauser Architectural Glass, the company that originally installed the windows, is now removing the Lexan and replacing it with panes of clear acrylic covering. The acrylic will make the windows easier to enjoy from the outside, Merhoff said. Willet Hauser workmen are also filling in gaps between glass pieces and the lead that holds them in place with a cement.

The three windows that hang over the chapel’s organ have been removed and sent to Winona, Minn. to be rebuilt, Meroff said. The windows were showing their age by bowing and the caretakers feared the glass would fall out if the windows were not soon serviced.

Those windows will be disassembled, the glass restored and then reassembled, project manager Al Peterson said.

Before the windows were originally installed, a section of one window was selected by the Rockefeller Foundation to be shown at the 1937 Paris Exposition for being an outstanding example of American stained glass work, according to literature provided by the chapel.

Each piece of glass in the windows at the chapel was hand painted, Peterson said. The tedious task of repairing and cleaning the glass takes time and patience, Peterson said.

The chapel was built in 1936 by Alexander Duncan as a memorial for his wife, Flora, after her passing, Merhoff said. The Oldham County native had moved to Baltimore and began the Commercial Credit Corporation but decided to bury his wife in the town where they began their life together.

The chapel now serves as a public space for weddings, funerals, meetings and other occasions. The average number of weddings held on the grounds has reached 350 in recent years according to chapel literature.

Email us about this story at amattingly@oldhamera.com.