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80-year-old windows get major overhaul

Jesse Judy, assistant foreman for Willet Hauser Architectural Glass, works on one of the 309 windows of St. Anne's Church. During the re-installation, he was in charge of wiping the 80-year-old windows and removing any dirt or scuff marks.1 / 2
Gary Judy, foreman for the Willet Hauser Architectural Glass, worked on the scaffolding during the re-installation of the 39 stained glass windows at St. Anne's Church in Somerset. The windows, estimated to be worth about $1 million, were removed in June and are now being replaced after it was discovered that the seals and sashes surrounding the windows were rotting out.2 / 2

Something has been missing from the 98-year-old building at 139 Church Hill Road in Somerset.

Namely, the stained glass windows at St. Anne's Church.

Although the church was built in 1912, the stained glass windows were installed in the 1930s. Over time, the wooden sashes holding the windows rotted away. The windows on the south side were the worst off, as they got more sun and weather exposure.

Deacon Dick Peterson, parish life coordinator, estimated that the 39 windows -- the majority of them created in Germany -- were valued at $1 million.

So it was a cause for concern when they realized how rotted the wood was surrounding the glass. They began soliciting bids for restoring the windows in January 2010.

"We were just trying to stay ahead of the game," Peterson said in an earlier interview.

The church raised the money by asking congregants to sponsor a window, the value depending on the size of the window. The largest windows measured 2-feet-by-20-feet.

Willet Hauser Architectural Glass in Winona, Minn. won the contract and started to work on the project in June.

They removed all the windows first, as well as the sashes. Then they scraped and painted the frames before installing clear storm windows.

"Before we had milky storm windows," Peterson said. "The clear storm windows make the stained glass so much brighter."

Jesse Judy, assistant foreman for Willet-Hauser, said the project wasn't challenging per se -- it was just a very large project.

"The windows themselves were in fairly good shape," Judy said. "We replaced the border canes and reinforced the ones inside the windows."

The windows should all be replaced by mid-November. At that time, Peterson said they will have a dedication ceremony, with the donors who helped pay for the $250,000 project honored on a plaque in the Beaudette Center.