Holy Trinity Church Window Project in Motion – The Vicksburg Post


They are some of Vicksburg’s greatest treasures.

The stained glass windows of the Holy Trinity Church are a pride of the community and one of the main attractions for tourists on the river boats visiting the city.

“Trinity is the # 1 tour stop for all riverboats, including the battlefield,” said church historian Tim Ables. “People want to see Trinity Episcopal Church and the Tiffany windows.”

There are 34 stained glass windows in Holy Trinity; Six of these windows are Tiffany stained glass windows designed and built by artist Louis Comfort Tiffany, who promoted a method that used copper foil to make stained glass.

“The oldest windows in the church are at least 140 years old,” said Ables. “The newer ones that were installed between 1880 and 1962.

Four are over 50 years old. The younger ones before that would have been in the 1930s, so we’re getting closer to where most of them are at least 100 years old. “

However, time and weather have taken their toll on the windows, so they have lost the glitz of their early years. A project is underway to restore it to its original beauty and preserve it for the future.

“We’ve talked about the windows, which are one of our Church’s most valuable assets, and we’ve talked for years about the need for window maintenance and restoration,” said Church Member Steve Saunders, project leader for the estimated $ 350,000 restoration and maintenance effort the window.

“This year our sacristy decided to move ahead with restoring the windows and hired Andrew Young of Pearl River Glass Studios in Jackson to do the work,” Saunders said.

Young evaluated all 34 windows, examined the condition and needs of the windows, and helped church members develop a scope of work to clean, restore, and preserve the church windows.

Part of the project is to remove the external cladding behind the windows that was installed more than 50 years ago and replace it with clear laminated safety glass.

The old panels had darkened, making the windows difficult to see and allowing moisture and heat to build up, Ables said, which caused mold to build up. The new panes of glass are ventilated to allow air to circulate and water to drain away.

Saunders said the restoration project began in February, starting with the north and west windows. Next, work will begin on the south and east windows.

“We are done with the north windows; we’re working on the west wall windows now, ”he said.

The west side windows, the oldest in the church, were installed in 1880, the same year the first service took place in the church.

“The west wall is what we call the Monument of Reconciliation,” said Ables. “These are the oldest windows in the church. In the same year, three more windows were installed at the other end of the church. “These are very special for us because of the topic.”

In 1880, when the windows of the Atonement Memorial were installed, Ables said, “America still had a lot of heartburn over the Civil War.”

The sacristy at the time, he said, had decided not only to erect a memorial to soldiers, but to design it to cover soldiers from both sides, north and south, who fell in the civil war.

“It was a very significant concern of the time they did it to say, ‘Let us have peace with one another.'”

The “youngest” windows of the church are also located on the west wall: four stained glass windows of the apostles Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in the tower of the church, which were installed in 1962. Ables said these windows had been restored.

The north wall contains seven windows that were installed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

“They are a collection of various memorials given by families to the Church in memory of loved ones. There are three Tiffany windows on that side, including what we believe to be the first Tiffany window installed in the church, ”Ables said.

All of these windows, he said, were in “pretty good shape. All seven were able to do the job with the windows removed. “

The south wall also has seven windows, three of which are Tiffany windows.

A Tiffany window on the south wall called “Hope,” Ables said, was removed and taken to Jackson for work. The cost of repairing and restoring that one window, he said, is about $ 30,000.

The east wall, Ables said, is the choir or sanctuary wall above the altar.

“They (the windows) were installed to commemorate three of the Church’s founders, who all died in 1878,” he said. “Two of them died of yellow fever and the third had a serious illness and died accidentally at the same time.”

All three died within a month of one another in September 1878, he said, and two of the windows contain the women in the memorial. The wives died within a year of the death of their husbands, “so we lost five very prominent, beloved Church leaders during the epidemic.”

Two years after the epidemic, when the church began to resume services, the congregation decided who should be commemorated in this prominent place in front of the church.

Church officials plan to raise funds for the project through a fundraising program called Lights to the World, a three-year program to raise the cost of the project, which is $ 350,000.

Campaign chairman Bobbie Marascalco said the fundraiser will start at 10:15 am at church on Sunday.

“We will have materials on the windows and driveway to hand out and explain the why, importance and cost,” she said, adding that Andrew Young will also be giving a presentation on the windows.

Marascalco said church officials promoted the fundraiser across the ward and among people who may have a connection with the church, either because they grew up in the church, commemorating a family member, or attending concerts and other church events.

“This church was built through donations from people from all over the community, so we definitely want to get back in touch,” she said.

Ables said the restoration project was “something we couldn’t in good conscience postpone. After we had a really first class professional assessment on it, the sacristy decided that we should start. These are too valuable to not start with. “

“It’s a 100 year investment,” Saunders said. “What I found really unique here is that all of these windows in this church were memorials to someone and individual people collected the money, hired a contractor and a stained glass artist, and commissioned each window individually and had them installed in the church.

“These were single families who went to Tiffany Studios and had a window designed by Tiffany and paid for by that family,” he said.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter, and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. He has been with the Vicksburg Post since 2011 and looks after the city administration. He and his wife attend St. Paul’s Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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