Friday, November 14, 2014

Sacred Heart's chandeliers, &tc.


I can be a little obsessive sometimes about figuring out where stuff came from, so was pleased yesterday when Gloria Lee loaned two big scrapbooks containing background information about the Sacred Heart (earlier, St. Mary's) parish to the historical society. We'll keep them a few days to copy items to add to our Sacred Heart file which, at the moment, has exactly one item in it (and I've been whining about that).

Among the items included are a few notes about the sources of various items in the church, including the altars, windows --- and the chandeliers. I speculated about sources recently when writing three Sacred Heart-related posts, which you can find here: Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

The scrapbooks also contained the image at the top here, shot from the balcony during midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, 1932. Here's how the chancel looks today, and one thing interesting to note is the addition between 1932 and now of the magnificent chandeliers that light the nave. According to a couple of notes in the scrapbooks, these chandeliers were brought to Sacred Heart from St. Patrick's Church at Georgetown, which in fact is the Chariton congregation's "mother" parish. No date for the move was noted, however.


I got to wondering about that, so pulled out my copy of a book about St. Patrick's of Georgetown published during 2007 by Michael W. Lemberger and Leigh Michaels. In it, I found a small and not especially clear photo of the interior of St. Patrick's, taken during 1908 --- and sure enough what appear to be the Sacred Heart chandeliers were suspended from what at that time was the soaring ceiling (since lowered) of that magnificent building. St. Patrick's is a larger building (it will seat 600) and there appear to have been more of these chandeliers than are in use now in Chariton.

St. Patrick's underwent a major remodeling in 1900 during which an elaborate tin ceiling was installed over the original plaster and I'm guessing the chandeliers date from that project. By 1951, when another interior photo of St. Patrick's was taken, the chandeliers had disappeared. You'll note in the 1932 photo here that much simpler ceiling fixtures were in use at Sacred Heart then. I couldn't find anything to tell me when the chandeliers were relocated, but was happy to know their source.

Unlike Sacred Heart, St. Patrick's interior was extensively altered during the late 1950s and 1960s. The ceiling was lowered and flattened and gorgeous altars "simplified." In addition, the north chancel wall was moved forward, blocking a beautiful rose window previously visible from the nave.

Other scrapbook notes state that the high altar at Sacred Heart was donated by Mr. and Mrs. Herman J.H. Steinbach; the side altars, by James and William Lyons and by J.C. Kinney and Laurence McCann. According to parish tradition, these altars were created in Italy.

Statues of St. Patrick and St. Boniface are located on the high altar and another note stated that Sacred Heart parishioners of Irish descent bought St. Patrick; parishioners of German descent, St. Boniface. The statue of St. Anthony of Padua at the rear of the church was brought to Sacred Heart from St. Mary's.

Other notes confirmed that several of the smaller windows in Sacred Heart --- including the three tower chamber windows --- also were brought from the old St. Mary's Church to the new Sacred Heart.

The high altar at Sacred Heart is flanked by Sacred Heart windows and there is conflicting information in the scrapbooks about their source. In one place, it's stated that these windows, too, came from the old St. Mary's; in another, that they were brought from the "old" church at Georgetown.

I'm reasonably sure the latter just isn't true. These windows surely were brought from old St. Mary's to the new Sacred Heart.

One reason is the fact there are no openings in the venerable 1860s stone walls of St. Patrick's small enough to hold these windows. And the predecessor to the current St. Patrick's was essentially a log cabin.


Another reason is the dedication panel on one of the windows, "Donated by Rev. Henry Maniett in memory of his Father & Mother." Henry was a son of the St. Mary's parish, arriving in Chariton with his parents, Joseph and Anna J. Katharine (Roder) Maniett, during 1869. The Manietts were among the founding members of St. Mary's parish. Joseph died during 1874 and Katharine, who later married James Gallagher, during 1901. 

Henry served as faculty member and administrator at St. Ambrose College in Davenport from roughly 1890 until 1901, when he was assigned as pastor of Sacred Heart parish in Ottumwa. His whereabouts after that are obscure --- but his "absentee" estate was probated in Lucas County during 1917-1918.

The design of the second Sacred Heart window, donated by Dr. M.F. Riordan in memory of his parents, is nearly identical to that of the first --- so there's no reason to think they've ever been separated. Exactly why Dr. Riordan would have donated a window to St. Mary's is a bit of a puzzler --- he was a Melrose physician who practiced extensively in Lucas County but seems never to have lived here. He and his wife eventually moved to upstate New York where both died and are buried.

2 comments:

Jack Williamson said...

Frank, I sure remember as a small boy growing up in Williamson of being able to see the dome of St. Patrick's in Georgetown, when the sun was just right and shining on it. Don't know for sure but it must have been at least 20 miles away.

Frank D. Myers said...

I'm sure that's true, although the steeple was not painted its current shiny silver until the late 1950s, done so at the behest of Fr. Charles Gannon because, he said, that way it was sure to be seen for at least 20 miles.