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Stained Glass Windows in St. Louis RC Church

Gothic Grandeur: A Rare Tradition in American Catholicism,
Authored and Co-Edited by C. Eugene Miller, Ph.D.
and Co-Edited by Michael A. Riester.

Canisius College Press, 2003, pp. 199,  211.

Buffalo Stained Glass Works (Riester & Frohe)
The aisle windows in St. Louis Church were designed and installed sometime between the years 1890 and 1894.  Within the walls of the side aisles of the greater portion of the nave, stained glass rectangular windows pierce six bays on each side, each containing a mullion in the center and a pointed arch at the top. They are five feet six inches wide and eighteen feet six inches in height. The arch of each window is filled with traceries of varied designs, and the rectangular section exhibits a scene illustrating an aspect of biblical or church history.

Leo Frohe and Otto Andrle designed them [the aisle windows] in the shop on Pearl Street which was a large three story brick building eighty by sixty feet. It had two large kilns with a capacity of one thousand feet of glass daily. Twenty-two skilled workmen were employed. From 1865 to 1896, it furnished windows for over twelve hundred churches in all parts of the continent. It was one of the largest companies of its type in the United States.

About 1891. Frohe began to interview the prospective donors of the windows. Andrle proposed the idea of complimentary symmetry in the choice of design so as to blend in with the gothic nature of the church. The donors suggested the topics for each window so as to fulfill1 their reasons for a choice and to satisfy Andrle's artistic imagination corresponding to his basic plan. By the end of the year the choices were made and the price per window was set at $527.15 per window. The donors made a fifty-percent down payment and the program was initiated.  

The windows in the clerestory were also made at this time by a less expensive process such that each cost $225. ...

The clearstory rises twenty-seven feet above the roof of the side aisle. On each of its sides there are seven stained glass windows with run-on (stenciled geometric) designs of differing patterns, each eight feet wide and nineteen feet high....

Also at each end of the
transept, at the same height as the clerestory, is a most beautifully designed Rose Window, a circle of stained glass, twenty-two feet in diameter, with divided compartments and tracery radiating from the center....

With the equipment in order the Buffalo Stained Glass Works meticulously set out on a well-defined procedure to produce artistic windows for St. Louis Church. Their craftsmen made sketches, put together a template and came up with a final cartoon. On it they drew lines and cut out patterns. Then they selected the glass and cut it with a three bladed scissors. Finally the glass was painted, fired, and glazed which was the art of fixing it into the lead cames. By 1894 the work was completed, and the windows were installed.

Royal Munich Art Institute in Bavaria
At approximately the same time the two windows in the chancel area of the sanctuary and the seven large windows, high above the main altar in the apse were installed. The Royal Munich Art Institute in Bavaria had made these. Each of these windows cost the donors $750 each.

Illustrations below are NOT part of Gothic Grandeur

Clearstory: Detail - Stenciled geometric

Transept: Detail - Rose Window

Sanctuary: Detail - King Louis IX

Photos and their arrangement © 2010 Chuck LaChiusa
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