Work continues in stained glass window restoration project


GRAFTON—Progress continues in downtown Grafton, in a restoration effort at one of the area’s most well-known National Historic Landmarks.

Three employees of Williams Stained Glass visited the International Mother’s Day Shrine on Thursday, January 28, to reinstall two more of the restored stained glass windows, as part of the Shrine’s Stained Glass Restoration Project.

The Mother’s Day Shrine Stained Glass Restoration project, which is no small feat, began in May 2019, and in total, 14 windows that are 14 feet high by 11 inches wide, 11 windows that are seven and a half feet in height and 39 inches wide and one window that stands 19 feet in height and 48 inches wide will be tended to.

Board Member Larry Richman revealed that total cost of the project comes in at approximately $400,000.

After being awarded the bid for the project by the Board of Trustees of the Mother’s Day Shrine, the father and son duo from Williams Stained Glass Studio, of out Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, set to work to begin repairing the ornate pieces of art.

The improvements being done to the windows include re-leading the windows, replacing any broken glass and repairing or replacing the wood window frames, as well as replacing the exterior acrylic storm coverings on the outside of the building, according to Richman.

With the newly installed windows, all six of the second floor sanctuary windows on the Luzadder Street side of the building have been completed.

Crew members from Williams returned to the Shrine on Friday, January 29 to remove two more windows at the front of the sanctuary on the St. John’s Street side of the building.

According to Board Member Marvin Gelhausen, when the project was first started, workers removed one window on the St. John Street side and restored it.

“So, when they restore the two windows they remove Friday, they will be half done on the St. John Street side. Once those are done, they have the three large windows on the front of the building to do and the sanctuary windows will be restored,” Gelhausen shared.

Once the sanctuary windows have all been tended to, workers will then move downstairs and begin window restoration work.

“Overall, I believe we have 27 stained glass windows to be restored, and Thursday’s installation reflected completion of seven windows,” Gelhausen noted.

Williams said to complete a project of that magnitude would take the team nearly two years to finish them all.

To help cover the cost of funding such a large project, the Board of Trustees is once again looking to the community for support of their project to restore the Mother’s Day Shrine’s historic beauty. Virginia Paugh Wolfe has been entrusted as the chairperson for stained glass window restoration project.

For those wishing to contribute to the restoration of the historic and iconic building, donations may be mailed to the Mother’s Day Shrine, P.O. Box 513, Grafton, WV 26354 or may be hand delivered to the City of Grafton Finance Department, located at 1 West Main Street, Grafton. Checks will need to be made payable to the Mother’s Day Shrine Stained Glass Window Fund.

Donors may also make contributions through PayPal at www.internationalmothersdayshrine.org, or through GoFundMe at www.gofundme.com/restore-the-mothers-day-shrine.

The International Mother’s Day Shrine is a 146-year-old landmark of Grafton and is one of the sixteen national historic landmarks in West Virginia.

On December 18, 1970, the shrine was named a National Historic Place, and on October 5, 1992, it was added to the National Historic Landmark registry. Then, on June 30, 2007, it was noted as a National United Methodist Historic Site.

“The Mother’s Day Shrine is an important part of Grafton’s history, and I would really like to see it restored to its former beauty,” Richman expressed. “We are happy that the project is underway and that we have one window successfully completed.”

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