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Featured Windows, August 2007

Grace Episcopal Church Port Huron, MI

Building: Grace Episcopal Church

City: Port Huron

State: Michigan

The Transfiguration. Wells-Barnum Memorial Window. Grace Episcopal Church, Port Huron, MI. J. Wippell & Co. Ltd., Essex and London, England, 1926.

Grace Episcopal Church at Port Huron began in 1839 with thirteen families under the leadership of the Rev. Charles Reighley, a chaplain at Fort Gratiot, where soldiers of Companies C and K, 4th Regiment, U.S. Infantry were stationed. Early services were held in the chapel of the log fort and in parishioners' homes. The first church building, dedicated in August of 1841, was a modest frame structure. It was followed in 1854 by a larger frame building, painted brown and known as "The Little Brown Church," which had stained glass windows purchased from Booth, Riester & Company of Buffalo for $108. The cornerstone of the third and present church home was laid in 1889. Designed in a Gothic style by P. C. Floeter and Company of Bay City, MI, it was constructed by local builders out of Lake Erie limestone and bluestone from quarries at Pointe aux Barques, MI, for a total cost of $27,000. The Goulden Memorial Chapel, a gift of Mrs. James Goulden in memory of her husband, was added during 1909-1911 and dedicated in April of 1912. Grace Episcopal Church celebrated the 150th anniversary of its founding in 1989.

The windows of the church and chapel were installed at various times. Two undocumented nave "Easter Lilies" windows, thought to be the oldest in the building, have been attributed by church tradition to the Tiffany Studios of New York City (bottom image). They were given as a memorial to Mary Harrington Rice by the Harrington family, founding parishioners. Many of the other windows came from two English studios. The Great West Window above the altar, "The Transfiguration," was provided by J. Wippell & Co. Ltd., of Essex and London, England (top image). Given in 1926 by Mrs. Mary Hyde Barnum and her son, Thomas Edison Barnum, in memory of faithful workers at Grace Episcopal Church, it illustrates an event related in the Book of Matthew, Ch. 17:1-6, when Jesus went up a mountain with his disciples Peter, James and John. There the disciples witnessed him glowing with heavenly radiance, with Moses, representing the law, and Elijah, representing the prophets, standing on either side.

Left: Christ the Divine Healer. Kibbee Memorial Window. Grace Episcopal Church, Port Huron, MI. Heaton, Butler & Bayne, London, England. Right: Dorcas and Judas Maccabeus. Boynton Memorial Windows. Grace Episcopal Church, Port Huron, MI. Heaton, Butler & Bayne, London, England.

The church nave also contains windows made by Heaton, Butler & Bayne of London, England. "Christ the Divine Healer" is a memorial to Dr. Jared Kibbee, who died in 1890 (Fig. 2). Two other windows by the same studio show subjects seldom seen in glass (Fig. 3). The "Dorcas" window was given in memory of Mrs. Anna Fideld Boynton, who died in 1916. According to the Book of Acts, Ch. 9:36-43, Dorcas, a devout woman who sewed clothing for poor widows, was raised from the dead by St. Peter. A companion window is a memorial to Anna Boynton's husband, Major Nathan S. Boynton, who served in the 8th Regiment, Michigan Cavalry, during the Civil War. It depicts Judas Maccabeus, a Jewish warrior of the second century BC, who led the Maccabean revolt against the Syrians to gain freedom for his people.

Hiram the Artificer and St. Martin, Christian Knight and Martyr. Bradley Memorial Windows. Grace Episcopal Church, Port Huron, MI. J. Wippell & Co. Ltd., Essex and London, England, 1910.

Among chapel windows are two windows made in 1910 by J. Wippell & Co. and given by Mrs. Ella Atkins Bradley in memory of her husband, James Bradley (Fig. 4). These windows also represent rarely seen subjects: "Hiram the Artificer" and "St. Martin, Christian Knight and Martyr." Hiram is described in the Book of I Kings, Ch. 7:13-14, as a skillful metal worker from Tyre, who was brought to Jerusalem by King Solomon to do brass work for his Temple. St. Martin, a fourth century soldier who later became bishop of Tours, is famous for having divided his military cloak with his sword, in order to share half of it with a beggar. The chapel also holds two windows made by Heaton, Butler & Bayne in 1909-1910. "Christ and the Children" and "The Raising of Lazarus" flank the altar on the chapel's east wall (Figs. 5 & 6).

Left: Christ and the Children. Grace Episcopal Church, Port Huron, MI. Heaton, Butler & Bayne, London, England, 1910. Right: The Raising of Lazarus. Grace Episcopal Church, Port Huron, MI. Heaton, Butler & Bayne, London, England, 1909-1910.

Since 1967, several other windows have been added to the church, narthex, memorial chapel and columbarium. Some of the newer windows incorporate nautical scenes or symbols, appropriate themes for Port Huron's location on the shores of Lake Huron, the St. Clair River, and the St. Lawrence Seaway.


Easter Lilies. Harrington-Rice Memorial Windows. Grace Episcopal Church, Port Huron, MI. Attributed to Tiffany Studios, New York City, undated.

Grace Episcopal Church was registered in the Michigan Stained Glass Census by Jane Rae of Port Huron Photos courtesy of Grace Episcopal Church.


Bibliography: Show Bibliography

(MSGC 1998.0136)

Text by Betty MacDowell, Michigan Stained Glass Census, August , 2007.