Monday, January 18, 2010

Bringing Back the Nokomis Theatre’s Stained Glass Windows

It's always been our hope to someday restore the facade of the arts center back to its former Nokomis Theatre glory. As such, thrilled to announce that one of those original architectural elements—the stained glass windows—are coming to us much sooner than we dared to hope for! Lonny McLaughlin, a brilliant stained glass artist, future instructor at CAFAC, and neighborhood resident has generously donated his time and talents to recreate the windows that once graced the front of our building. Lonny has painstakingly analyzed historic photos to create a sketch of what the windows originally looked like. The result is a truly spectacular Prairie-style window—one that features a Tiffany-style slumped glass “turtle” ( the ‘X’) and oversized caming.

In addition, Kokomo Opalescent Glass Company has generously donated all the glass needed for the windows. This glass company is the oldest manufacturer of opalescent and cathedral stained glass in the world, having once been a principal supplier of stained glass to both Tiffany Studios and Frank Lloyd Wright. Several stained glass window experts have surmised that, based on the age of the Nokomis Theatre (1915) and Kokomo’s massive presence in the stained glass window industry at the time, that it is likely Kokomo was also the original supplier for the Nokomis Theatre windows.

And the generosity doesn’t end there! Joseph Ring of the J. Ring Glass Studio & Store, has also generously donated the remaining supplies needed for Lonny to complete the windows, and CAFAC board members who have experience in window restoration are restoring the original wood window frames which are still intact and building protective exterior wood storm windows! As part of its mission, CAFAC believes in restoring and/or adaptively reusing original architectural elements whenever possible.

A heartfelt “THANK YOU” goes out to everyone involved in this super exciting restoration project. After likely 50+ years, the warm glow of the Nokomis Theatre’s stained glass windows will once again greet all who pass by or enter the building.

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