July 21, 2024

Bringing The Stained Glass Windows Back To The Museum

A stained glass window at the Clarke County Historical Museum.

The journey of the Methodist Church stained glass windows has been a long one. The return of the stained glass windows is close and they will soon become the “jewels” of the Clarke County Historical Museum with help from the community.

In 1894, the “new” Episcopal Methodist Church opened with ten new stained glass windows. The church was home to all ten windows until the building deteriorated. Originally, ten windows were donated to the Methodist Church by various families and organizations when it was built. The original cost of the windows varied by size, amount of lettering, complexity of design, and amount of lettering.

Dr. C.E. Harken, a well-known physician in Clarke County had a desire to see a history museum in Clarke County. He acquired five of the original stained glass windows when the 1894 church closed. Dr. Harken donated his five windows to the Clarke County Historical Society in the early 70′s and they were stored in Society members’ basements, garages, and other places until a permanent home was found. In 1984, the current Museum building was completed and the windows were put on display.

The whereabouts of the other five original stained glass windows is unknown at this time. If you have any information, please see our contact information below. We’d like to be able to complete the history of all ten windows.

The stained glass windows were created in the1890′s with magnificent craftsmanship, but were showing significant wear. In 1984, no funds were available for a restoration project. The potential craftsmen and costs were researched by the Historical Society, and in 2015, a quote from Glass Heritage (the firm that restored the Grant Wood stained glass window) for was secured.

The Historical Society continued to raise funds for several more years and in 2023 restoration of the first window began. The most badly deteriorated window, The “Ladies Aid Society” window was chosen to be the first. Records show the original cost of this window was $54.35. The other four windows donated to the Museum were the “Grand Army of the Republic” window, original cost $105.00; the “Mary Scott Badley” window donated by the Women’s Foreign Missionary Society, original cost $42.50; “The Little Gleaners” window, original cost unknown, was donated by Mr. P.L. Fowler; and the last Museum window is “Unnamed”, original cost unknown and donor unspecified.

The Historical Society has successfully restored three of the five windows to their original beauty. When the last two windows are completed, all five will be reinstalled in the Museum in a new display. Work has begun on the last two windows. Fund raising efforts continue to raise the final $12 - $13,000 to complete the last two windows and build the new display.

Any amount of donation is appreciated and donations of $100 or more will be displayed on a plaque in the Museum. “In memory of” or “In honor of” donations in the name of an individual or family can be made as well. The Historical Society thanks everyone who has donated and supported this project over the the years. Help us bring the windows back in 2024!

If you are interested in making a donation of any amount, please contact Deb Yorba at (909) 841-7803 or send a check made payable to the ‘Clarke County Historical Society’, % Mike Boldon, 321 E. McLane St., Osceola, IA, 50213.