Sunday, May 25, 2014

Let the Restoration Begin

At the annual meeting of the Friends of the First Presbyterian Church on Saturday morning, nothing but good news was announced. The best of the news is that work on restoring the church's principal stained glass window may begin as soon as next month thanks in large part to a $50,000 grant from the New York Landmarks Conservancy Sacred Sites Program.

James Brodsky, a member of the board of directors of the Landmarks Conservancy, presented the award to Phil Forman, president of the Friends of the First Presbyterian Church. The grant is a Robert W. Wilson Challenge Grant, which Forman explained is one of the more difficult and prestigious grant programs, with a "challenging set of criteria" focused on the historic importance of the project and the applicant's commitment to preservation. Brodsky, who lives in Hudson and serves on the deliberation committee, called the restoration of the major window in the church's facade important to Sacred Sites and to him personally.

After the award had been presented, Forman did the math. The restoration of the stained glass window and the wood tracery, excluding engineering, will cost $163,900. Thus far, $157,000 has been committed to the project--$80,000 from the Galvan Initiatives Foundation, $50,000 from the Sacred Sites Program, and $27,000 from individual donations--leaving $6,900 still to be raised and another $6,000 for engineering costs. Forman asked the audience for a show a hands on whether or not the project could be done this year. In the audience made up primarily of members of the Friends of the First Presbyterian Church and other members of the community committed to the preservation of the historic church at the corner of Warren and Fourth street, all hands went up.

Work on the window is expected to start in June or July. The wood tracery and the stained glass will restored as independent systems. The wood tracery with be re-created at Kress Workshop in Claverack. The stained glass will be restored by Architectural Stained Glass in East Chatham, which has done stained glass restoration for such buildings as Universal Preservation Hall in Saratoga Springs, St. Thomas Episcopal Church on Fifth Avenue in New York City, and Trinity Parish House in Lenox, MA. The wood tracery is expected to be back in place by the end of September. The stained glass would then be reinstalled, and the project could be complete by Thanksgiving or Christmas.



  1. Excellent. Kudos to. Brodsky, Forman, the Church, all involved. That's great!

    -- Jock Spivy