Updated 11/25/2012 02:18 PM
Future of stained glass windows in jeopardy
Potsdam is home to a number of churches with stained glass windows and they were done by world-renowned artists. Our Barry Wygel took a tour of some of the churches to see what makes them special.
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POTSDAM, N.Y. -- People walk by them without thinking twice.
"They are holy items. They are not just church decorations. They are blessed items. Every church sees their windows as much a part of the church as the minister, the priest, they are holy items," said Edward Dehors, founders of historical Restorations.
Potsdam is home to four churches that have stained glass windows and not only are they art, but they are history as well.
“Some of these windows go back to the late 1860s," said David Martin, stained glass historian.
And it's something that they are not making more of. Martin says that companies now rely on cheaper materials to make the windows.
Martin said, "The studios that are in business today, do not, and in my opinion cannot, reproduce this glass today. The painters are gone."
Even though these works of art have been around for over 200 years, it doesn't mean their future is certain. People in the field say not enough is being done to preserve them.
The old windows need restoration work, depending how they are made, about every 50 years. This can prove quite costly anywhere from $50,000 to $250,000. Sometimes this can be cost-prohibitive.
"Every single one of these churches, except for a very few, need anywhere from minimal to major work on their windows. I only know of one non for profit in the United States doing this kind of work,” Martin said.
That non for profit is Historical Restorations and its founder Edward Dehors says they not only provide a low-cost alternative, they provide a better quality as well.
"It's not about the money and they are all about the money. It's very common where commercials studios price will be as many as three times what we charge," Dehors said.
Dehors has worked on many churches in the North Country and his non profit is trying to make sure we have these works of art around for a little bit longer.
For more information about stained glass restorations in the North Country you can visit the Historical Restorations Foundation website at historicalrestorations.org.