South Loop Church’s Massive Tiffany Window Goes Out For Repairs

At a time when too many of Chicago’s holy places are being abandoned, or worse, we bring you a good news story out of the South Loop. The enormous Tiffany window at Second Presbyterian Church has been removed for conservation.

Stained glass window  being removed from Second Presbyterian Church in March, 2021. (Courtesy of Friends of Historic Second Church.)
Stained glass window being removed from Second Presbyterian Church in March, 2021. (Courtesy of Friends of Historic Second Church.)

Thousands of people have admired the 16-foot-tall window during services, tours, and community events. It was designed by Tiffany Studios in 1895, and is titled “St. Paul Preaching at Athens.”

Recently, it was removed from the church for a year-long restoration, which will clean the 22 panels and thousands of pieces of glass that comprise the window. In addition, the structural supports have to be replaced.

A horizontal slice of the window was restored in the late 90’s, and really demonstrated how badly the whole thing needed to be cleaned. Many of the figures depicted in the window can barely be seen.

This window is one of nine Tiffany windows in the church. It was a gift from First Presbyterian Church, which moved to a new location and found that the window didn’t fit its new building. Marshall Field (yes, that Marshall Field), a member of First, arranged to have the window donated to Second in 1927.

Chicago has a long history with stained glass, and there are many tales of the city captured in glass in historic buildings around town. The stained glass museum at Navy Pier closed a few years ago, but you can learn more about the stained glass at Second Presbyterian through a series of videos available online.

Location: 1936 South Michigan Avenue, South Loop

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at chicagoarchitectureinfo@gmail.com.

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