Friday, April 03, 2015

A rose (window) by any other name ...

I did a series of posts here during January and February about the stained glass and mighty Pilcher pipe organ at Chariton's First United Methodist Church, but gave scant attention to the beautiful rose window in the gable end of the building's east transept. There was a good reason for that --- although a major feature of the building's exterior and visible in a scrunched sort of way from a storage area, the window hasn't been seen as originally intended from the nave for more than a century.

But this week, my friend (and fellow Historic Preservation commissioner) Melody Wilson found some photos of the window that she had taken and/or asked the guy up on the scaffolding to take some time ago when stonework was being tuck-pointed. So here, thanks to Melody, are some close-up views (from outside) of the window, starting with the leaf-bedecked cross and crown of the central oculus.

The window commemorates the Rev. G.W. Roderick, pastor at the time planning and fund-raising for the new church began, who died Dec. 2, 1898, with his clerical boots on at age 40 after a brief illness. Roderick remains the only pastor to die while serving the First United Methodist congregation.

Architect Samuel A Bullard, of Springfield, Illinois, no doubt designed the transept where the window is located to house a musical instrument and choir and a rose window to light it was entirely appropriate for the Gothic Revival style he was working in. The new building was dedicated during July 1900 --- and all seemed well.

But what neither the architect nor the congregation had anticipated was the scale of the Pilcher pipe organ purchased in part with a grant from Andrew Carnegie and installed during 1906. It filled the transept arch entirely, blocking the view of the window. This was a conflict between music and glass that most likely even Solomon could not have resolved.

But the window can still be appreciated from the outside and viewed, sort of, from a storage area behind the organ case.

"Rose window" seems to be a 17th century term applied to an older Gothic form, chosen because the parts of these traceried confections were thought to resemble petals of a rose. They're also known sometimes as Catherine windows, after St. Catherine of  Alexandra, reportedly executed on a spiked wheel.

Here are links to some earlier posts related to First United Methodist, its glass and its pipe organ: Old Glory: First United Methodist Church; Andrew Carnegie and the Mighty Pilcher; United Methodist Glass 1; and United Methodist Glass 2.

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