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Our Lady of Grace, Dearborn Heights, Michigan

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Featured Windows, December 2015-January 2016

St. Paul's Catholic Church, Onaway, Michigan: artists Peter and Christel Brahm

Building: Church of Saint Paul

City: Onaway

State: Michigan

St. Paul's Catholic Church in Onaway, Michigan, built in early 1950's and designed by architects John E. Clapp and William H. Creaser from the well-known Detroit architectural firm Donaldson & Meier, is in the far north of Michigan's lower peninsula.  The search for who designed the stained glass took a few months.  A southeast Michigan stained glass firm stated they repaired some of the windows about 15 years ago and found the words "Massillon, Ohio," scratched onto the border lead.  Then, a priest who comes to the church once a week looked in old record books.  One thing lead to another and it was finally determined the windows were designed by H. Peter (d. Oct 2001) and Christel Brahm who came to the US from Germany in the early 1950's.  They had interned with German artist Arnold Dollman.  Christel Brahm has provided some of the information for this article.

(scroll down to see the exterior and the interior of the church)

They started their own studio in Massillon, Ohio, then merged with Nobis Decorating Company also in Massillon which is probably when the Onaway windows were installed.  Then, for about 10 years the Brahm's worked for Pittsburgh Stained Glass where they also designed faceted glass.    After some time living back in Germany, ultimately they moved to Florida where they retired.

Kirk Weaver at Pittsburgh Stained Glass pointed out there is a photo of their work in John Lloyd's book, "Stained Glass in America"...color plate XII...Columbiana, Ohio, Chapel of St. Mary.  (south of Youngstown, Ohio)

Exterior of chapel's

The Brahm's designed windows for at least eight churches in Ohio, two in Michigan and faceted windows in Maryland and also in Ohio, according to a 1970's pamphlet sent to me by the Brahm's daughter.  Many of these churches have merged with other Catholic church and have new names.  It is unclear how a small studio in central Ohio designed windows for a studio in northern Michigan, but most likely their work was known by the architectural firm or the Michigan and Ohio dioceses.

(MSGC 2015.0004)

Text by Barbara Krueger; Photos by Cameron Geralds, Royal Oak, MI (AGG member, glass painter), Michigan Stained Glass Census, December , 2015.