Featured Windows, March-April 2012
Mother Goose Nursery Rhyme Windows
Building: St. Vincent and Sarah Fisher Center (windows removed)
City: Farmington Hills
These Mother Goose Nursery Rhyme Windows were created in 1929 by the Detroit Stained Glass Works for the former home of the St. Vincent and Sarah Fisher Center in Farmington Hills, Michigan. The Center, now located in Detroit, dates back to 1844 when the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent De Paul arrived in Detroit and founded St. Vincent’s Academy, a kindergarten for orphaned children. During the following years, they founded three hospitals, an orphanage, a school, a retreat for the insane, and a shelter for unwed mothers. In 1929, through the generosity of Charles T. Fisher Jr. and his wife Sarah Fisher, the Sarah Fisher Home for Children, a residential facility, was built in Farmington Hills. The building architects, Weston & Ellington Architects and Engineers of Detroit, commissioned the Detroit Stained Glass Works to create 40 windows, which were installed by the Fisher Body Company. The Center included ten cottages, designed to house 24 children, a chapel and a kindergarten, where the windows were originally installed. By 1934, there were 200 children enrolled, aged two to six, and a nursery school was added. In 1948 St. Vincent’s Orphanage closed and merged with the Sarah Fisher Home to become the St. Vincent and Sarah Fisher Center. Programs for unwed mothers, foster care, and adoption services were later added.
Due to a reduction in state subsidies in 2005, the Center’s residential, foster care and adoption services were discontinued and its Farmington Hills campus was closed. In 2006 the Center relocated to Detroit, where educational programs and services for children and adults were developed. A new program, The Education Experience at St. Vincent and Sarah Fisher Center, was launched in 2011. The children’s program expanded to include field trips and additional subjects, as well as a computer lab and resources for parents. The adult program expanded to four campuses and added a speaker series, continuing education and employment search support.
The Mother Goose Nursery Rhyme Windows created for the Center’s kindergarten at Farmington Hills had been damaged when they were moved to a school gymnasium. Restoration of the windows began in 1986 with the assistance of local artists. Now fully restored, several of the windows will be on display during the month of April 2012, at The Village Theater at Cherry Hill, located at 50400 Cherry Hill Road in Canton, Michigan. Artifacts and information related to the Detroit Stained Glass Works will also be in the exhibit, organized by Tom Newton as part of the 33rd annual Michigan Glass Month. The Detroit Stained Glass Works was featured on this web site in February 2007.
The Mother Goose Nursery Rhyme windows were registered in the Michigan Stained Glass Census by Tom Newton of Dearborn, MI (MSGC 2006.0001).
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Text by Betty MacDowell, Michigan Stained Glass Census, March , 2012.