CEDAR RAPIDS – Pieces of history will be parceled out to the Cedar Rapids community when windows from the former First Christian Church are given to area non-profits and government agencies.
The Carl & Mary Koehler History Center and St. Luke’s Hospital are taking applications for 20 sets of the stained glass windows that were removed from the church before it was demolished in May.
St. Luke’s purchased the church in 2009 to make way for a parking lot and hired a professional stained glass window preservationist to remove the windows and light fixtures.
“We’re looking for places that are very open to the public and hopefully, getting foot traffic,” said Melanie Alexander, executive director of The History Center. ”We’re curious to see what types of applications come forward.”
Applicants have until Nov. 2 to submit the form.
Windows will be given to organizations for free, but not everyone who applies is guaranteed to receive one.
A review panel – an architect, stained glass expert, artist and others – will judge applications based on proposed plans.
Preference will be given to those that repurpose the windows in highly visible areas, regularly open to the public. The glass cannot be altered, except as needed for restoration.
Alexander said the windows don’t have to be used in window frames, but could be hung on a wall, used as a room divider or otherwise displayed.
Celebrated glass artist Louis Millet created the windows for the church, 840 Third Ave. SE, which was dedicated in 1913.
Millet, credited with founding the Chicago School of Architecture in 1893, often collaborated with famed architect Louis Sullivan.
The blue/green and amber prairie-style stained glass features geometric patterns, rather than religious symbols.
A total of 104 panels are in the sets, with sizes ranging from smaller 19-inch square windows to some nearly 10-feet tall.
“It’s really beautiful,” Alexander said. “You don’t have to be well-versed in architectural history to appreciate these windows.”
A massive skylight in similar patterns and about a dozen 9-by-36-inch light fixtures also will be given to appropriate applicants.
The skylight is crated in storage, but could be measured for groups with serious inquiries, Alexander said.
She was in the church when the skylight and windows were intact and described the natural light filtering through as stunning.
Applicants don’t have to replicate that setting, but must describe the plan and space where the windows or light fixtures will be viewed.
Organizations will be notified in January and are responsible for costs of restoration, installation and insurance.
“It’s 100-years-old. There’s work that’s needed,” Alexander said, pointing to an example on display at The History Center, 615 First Avenue SE.
Organizations must take possession by May 2013. St. Luke’s will keep the items in storage until that time.
The History Center will keep at least one window for display to be included in its First Christian Church collection. Artifacts in that collection, available for research, also include photos, church directories and architectural drawings of the church.
St. Luke’s will use some of the windows in its hospital chapel and in the Helen G. Nassif Community Cancer Center under construction in the Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa medical pavilion.
Hospital spokeswoman Laura Rainey said the goal is to keep as many of the windows as possible within the Cedar Rapids area, visible in public places for the community to enjoy.
Rainey said the process could take one year and if any windows are left, “then we’ll evaluate our next steps.”
Interested organizations may pick up a copy of the application at The History Center, 615 First Ave. SE, where an example of the stained glass is available to see.
Forms, due by 4 p.m. Nov. 2, also may be obtained by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.